Nato opposes arming Syria rebels

2012-04-02 19:37

Brussels - Nato's chief on Monday said the alliance was opposed to providing arms to the Syrian opposition seeking to counter a regime crackdown, warning that it would fuel a proliferation of weapons in the region.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a diplomatic solution and reiterated that Nato, which led the Libya air war that contributed to Muammar Gaddafi's downfall last year, had "no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria".

The Syrian opposition has appealed for weapons to fight the year-long bloody crackdown on dissent, but Arab League members, the United States, France and Germany steered clear of those calls at the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Turkey on Sunday.

"I don't think the right way forward would be to provide any group with weapons," Rasmussen told a news conference, voicing support for the diplomatic efforts led by UN special envoy Kofi Annan.

"There is a clear risk that the provision of arms to any group in Syria would also lead to a potentially dangerous proliferation of weapons in the region," he said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime pressed on with its deadly campaign to crush dissent on Monday, reportedly pounding northern rebel strongholds as it brushed off the "Friends of Syria" meeting as a failure.

"We monitor the situation closely," Rasmussen said, adding that the situation in Syria could impact neighbouring Turkey, a Nato member.

"It's absolutely outrageous what we have witnessed in Syria," he added.

Read more on:    un  |  nato  |  anders fogh rasmussen  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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