Doha summit gives Arab states 'right' to arm Syria rebels

Doha summit gives Arab states 'right' to arm Syria rebels

DOHA - Agence France-Presse
Doha summit gives Arab states right to arm Syria rebels

Syria's main opposition group took the country's seat at the Arab League for the first time as the 22-member bloc opened the summit in Doha. Khatib, who has resigned as the head of the National Coalition but said he would address the summit, took the seat of the head of the delegation at the gathering. AFP photo

Arab League leaders gathered for an annual summit in Doha on March 26 gave member states the "right" to offer Syrians all means of self-defence, including arms supplies.

The Arab summit affirms the "right of every state to offer all forms of self-defence, including military, to support the resistance of the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army," a resolution said.

However, "efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis are a priority," it added.

The Damascus government charges that summit host Qatar and heavyweight neighbour Saudi Arabia have long since been arming the rebels.

Arab leaders confirmed the opposition National Coalition "will take Syria's seat at the Arab League and in its organisations, until elections lead to the formation of a government." Iraq and Algeria have expressed reservations over seating the opposition. Lebanon has distanced itself.

Syria's seat had been vacant since the suspension of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in November 2011 over its rejection of a peace plan that would have required him to step down.