France unsure about arming Syria militants

France unsure about arming Syria militants
Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:27:47

France says it needed more talks with foreign-backed militants fighting Syrian government before it could supply them with heavy weapons.

Foreign ministers from the so-called Friends of Syria, which includes the United States, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will meet on Saturday in the Qatari capital Doha to discuss assistance for the terrorist groups in Syria.

France, which has actively supported the terrorists, has not yet chosen to arm them since pushing, along with Britain, to have an EU arms embargo lifted. It says it will not make a decision before August 1.

"As far as weapons go, there is no question of delivering weapons in conditions that we aren't sure about and that means we won't deliver weapons so that they are turned against us," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters during a visit to the annual Paris Airshow on Thursday.

"It's one of the reasons why we need more consultations with General Salim Idriss (the head of so-called the Supreme Military Council) who is the commander on the ground."

Saturday's conference follows a high-level Friends of Syria meeting in Ankara last week among diplomats and intelligence officers during which Idriss discussed his needs ranging from tent pegs and intelligence to anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, according to diplomatic sources.

Syria's 27-month conflict appears to be reaching a turning point after government troops force re-captured the town of Qusayr, in central Homs Province near the Lebanese border, earlier this month.

Syria’s army has since turned its attention to retake Aleppo, the Damascus suburbs and parts of the south of the country where they have been mired in a bloody stalemate with the terrorists for nearly a year.

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