Damascus accuse US of ‘double standards’
DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
Syrian gov’t forces perform military drills in Damascus. Syria accuses US of arming opponents to President al-Assad’s regime since a revolt broke out.Syria has accused Washington of applying double standards with its calls for a political solution to the country’s conflict at the same time as talking of arming the rebels.
“Washington’s decision to arm the terrorist groups in Syria proves that the United States [wants to] exacerbate the crisis in Syria, and shows up its dishonesty in the search for a political solution at a [proposed peace] conference in Geneva,” a foreign ministry official said in a statement. “The whole world knows the truth of the U.S. intentions for Syria ... which favor violence and terrorism, to serve Israel’s aggressive goals,” the statement added.
Damascus has accused Washington of arming opponents to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ever since a revolt broke out in March 2011. According to the foreign ministry statement, Washington “has not stopped arming the terrorists and giving them various forms of support for their criminal acts against [Syria’s] infrastructure.”
The United States is currently providing humanitarian and non-lethal military aid to rebel groups, but has said it will significantly expand the “scope and scale” of its military assistance. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with the new leader of the Syrian opposition at the United Nations this week, as Washington plans to boost military aid to the rebels gain steam.
2,000 killed since start of Ramadan
Newly-elected Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Jarba met on July 23 with French
leaders, saying he called for “total political support, diplomatic support, humanitarian emergency aid and military and other aid.”
Jarba was accompanied in Paris by the Free Syrian Army chief General Selim Idriss, who said the opposition was “working with our European and American friends to obtain technical, medical and humanitarian assistance and, we hope, also weapons and ammunition.”
Idriss repeated his complaint that the rebels did “not have enough” weapons as they battle al-Assad.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that at least 2,014 people, most of them fighters on both sides, had been killed in Syria’s civil war since the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on July 10.
More than 1,323 of the dead were pro or anti-regime fighters, said the Observatory. “The toll has been particularly high in the past four days,” director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that both sides “concealed the real number of dead so the real toll is actually higher.”
The figure for the slain pro-regime fighters included 438 army troops, while 69 were members of the regime’s paramilitary National Defense Force, the group said. On the rebel side, 545 were civilians who had taken up arms and joined the revolt, 30 were men who defected from the regime army, and 241 were foreign and unidentified fighters.
The dead also included 639 civilians including 105 children and 99 women, most of them killed in army shelling, said the Observatory. Fifty-two unidentified corpses were also accounted for in the Observatory’s toll.