Britain does not rule out future arms to Syria rebels

March 3, 2013 14:52


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LONDON - Britain cannot rule out providing arms to Syrian rebels in the future, although a new aid package it will announce this week will consist only of non-lethal assistance, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.

Western countries have so far shied away from arming the rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite their firm diplomatic backing for efforts to remove him.

Reuters and other news media have reported fighters getting increasingly large shipments of arms through Turkey and Jordan in recent months, with funding for those weapons believed to come from wealthy Arab states, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Washington said on Thursday it would provide non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels to bolster their popular support. The package is expected to include medical supplies, food and $60 million. New US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday he believed giving only "non-lethal support" was correct.

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