New Libya offers weapons to Syrian dissidents: daily
An anti-Gaddafi fighter looks at weapons left by Gadhafi forces in Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli Oct 8, 2011. REUTERS photo
Syrian dissidents held secret talks Nov. 25 with Libya’s new authorities and Turkish authorities in Istanbul with the aim of securing weapons and money for their insurgency against Damascus, the Daily Telegraph has reported.
Syrian opposition group requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers, during the meeting, the daily reported Nov. 25.
“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” a Libyan source said on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”
Preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council (SNC) – the country’s main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month, said the daily.
“The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council,” said Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC. Last month, Libya’s interim government became the first in the world to recognize Syria’s opposition movement as the country’s “legitimate authority.”
Large shipments of weapons have not yet been sent, said activists, mainly because of logistical difficulties.
But proposals for a “buffer zone” inside Syria, monitored by the Arab League, or the likely emergence of an area inside the country controlled entirely by rebels, could solve this problem. “The [Libyan] council’s offer is serious,” said Taris.
Sources in the Libyan town of Misrata suggested that some weapons may already have been sent. Some smugglers were caught selling small arms to Syrian buyers in Misrata, said a man who trafficked guns to Libya’s rebels during the country’s civil war.
Libyans feel closely aligned to the Syrian cause, said Hameda al-Mageri, from the Tripoli Military Council.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gaddafi “weapons when he was fighting us,” al-Mageri said. “There are hundreds of people who want to go to fight in Syria, or help in other ways if they can.”
Libyan officials, however, have denied the claims. “This is what you hear in the street,” said Ramadan Zarmoh, the leader of the Misrata military council. “Officially there is none of this. I would never send any fighters to fight outside the country.”