Thursday 21 November 2019

Syrian rebels mock inadequate aid

A resident walks past buildings damaged in what activists said was an air strike by the Syrian Air Force at al-Khalidiah neighborhood in Homs August 11, 2012.
A resident walks past buildings damaged in what activists said was an air strike by the Syrian Air Force at al-Khalidiah neighborhood in Homs August 11, 2012.

Richard Spencer in Aleppo

THE rebel leader of the assault on Aleppo has mocked an offer of £5m (€6m) in "non-lethal" aid to Syria's armed opposition as hopelessly inadequate for fighters facing jets and tanks.

Hajji Mari said his men were outnumbered, outgunned and bombed from the air.

"We asked the United Nations to help us, but Mr Hague said he would send us 'communication devices'. What use can they be against bombing? It's like coming up to a man who is dying and offering him sunglasses. He will have sunglasses but he will still die," he said.

The British Foreign Secretary announced on Friday that the aid would be directed to rebel fighters for the first time.

Hajji Mari (32) formed the Brigade of Unity with the leaders of neighbouring towns' rebel militias. Their decision to launch a lightning raid on Aleppo was not supported by the internationally recognised Free Syria Army.

The West has repeatedly refused to countenance military intervention in Syria and would struggle to gain the authorisation of the United Nations Security Council.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, used a meeting in Turkey to raise the threat of a no-fly zone.

Rebels on the ground are convinced that the US, France and Britain should declare a no-fly zone unilaterally to turn against the regime as happened in Libya.

Ahmed Amdani, a shopkeeper attending the funeral of a Unity Brigade fighter, said: "This is something people here will never forgive. We are not terrorists, we are just defending ourselves, and we need something to stop these jets."

Like many other Syrians, he claimed that the West intervened in Libya and not in Syria because Libya had oil.

'Al-Watan', a pro-regime newspaper, said government forces were advancing against the opposition in Aleppo and would expand their operations into the south of the city after its recapture of the nearby Salaheddin. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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