Syrian troops celebrate as they take control of the village of Haydariyah
on Monday (AFP)
The British and French originally wanted stronger backing for pro-western
rebels so as to marginalise jihadist elements which might emerge dominant if
Mr Assad fell.
Now Mr Cameron believes the rebels need to be strengthened just to prevent Mr
Assad winning an outright victory.
“There will be no political progress unless the opposition is able to
withstand the onslaught and put pressure on Assad,” he said, at a press
conference with Mr Obama.
He confirmed a doubling of aid to the rebels to £20 million, including the
supply of armoured cars, body armour and generators, and £30 million more in
humanitarian aid, bringing the total so far to £170 million. He said Britain
would continue to push for changes in the EU arms embargo.
John Kerry, left, and Sergei Lavrov holding a joint press conference in
Moscow last week (AFP)
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, believes he has secured a major
breakthrough in winning Russian support for a peace conference, based on the
Geneva proposals for a transitional government. However, whether Mr Assad
remains a part of that “transitional” government continues to be a
major dividing line.
George Sabra, acting leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said
it would consult its Middle Eastern supporters, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and
Qatar, before deciding whether to take part.
The Arab League said that the Syrian government had sent a proposed list of
representatives to Moscow.
Rebels on the ground say they will accept no deal short of Mr Assad’s removal.
Turkey would also be hard pressed to accept his survival, blaming him for
the car bombing in the border town of Reyhanli which killed 46 people on
Firefighters and police inspect the area scene of the explosions in Reyhanli
Officials believe the same group was responsible as carried out two massacres
near the Syrian town of Baniyas earlier this month. Photographs posted
online showed the bodies of large numbers of children.
They have identified a former Marxist terrorist group based in Turkey led by
Mihrac Ural, an ethnic Arab living in Syria close to the Assad regime.
An Alawite, he was filmed calling for Baniyas to be “cleaned” of
Four Turkish national members of his group are said to be among those arrested
for the bombing.
The most gruesome video to emerge, though, shows a rebel militia leader from
Homs, Khaled al-Hamad, or “Abu Saqqar”, cutting the heart and
liver out of a corpse.
Abu Saqqar’s men split off from a mainstream rebel brigade and have been
accused of other atrocities, including shelling Shia villages in Lebanon.
He is seen shouting: “I swear to God we will eat your hearts, Alawite
soldiers of Bashar the dog.” He then puts the organs to his mouth.
The war’s death toll is estimated at more than 80,000. Mr Cameron said
something had to be done to stop the current “trajectory” into
“Syria’s history is being written in the blood of her people, and it is
happening on our watch,” he said. “The world urgently needs to
come together to bring the killing to an end.”
Source Article from http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/568301/s/2bdd9321/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cnews0Cworldnews0Cmiddleeast0Csyria0C10A0A550A650CSyria0EDavid0ECameron0Epledges0Eto0Eredouble0Eefforts0Efor0Esettlement0Bhtml/story01.htm