Qatar PM calls for arming Syrian rebels

February 27, 2012 14:49

OSLO - The international community should provide arms to Syria's opposition and Arab countries should take the lead in providing a safe haven for rebels inside Syria, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said on Monday.

"I think we should do whatever is necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves," the prime minister said during a visit to Norway.

While the West has dismissed talk of a Libya-style NATO role to support the opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Gulf Arab states have pushed for a more forceful stance. Saudi Arabia said on Friday it would back the idea of arming rebels.

The Qatari prime minister said that Arab countries should take part in an international military effort to stop the bloodshed in Syria after 11 months of insurrection against Assad in which thousands have been killed.

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