RIYADH - Saudi Arabia said Syrians should be enabled to protect themselves against government attacks but declined direct comment on a report that it had helped set up a secret liaison center in Turkey to aid a rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Gulf sources told Reuters on Friday that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar had established a center in Adana, southeastern Turkey, to help the rebel Free Syrian Army with communications and weaponry as it battles in major cities against forces loyal to Assad.
"The very well-known position of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to extend to the Syrian people financial and humanitarian assistance, as well as calling upon the international community to enable them to protect themselves at the very least if the international community is not able to do so," a foreign ministry spokesman said by text message on Saturday, answering a Reuters query about the base.
"The Syrian regime is importing and using all kinds of weapons to fight and oppress its own people in a fierce war as if it's launched towards a foreign enemy - not against its disarmed population", the spokesman added.
The Gulf sources had also said the Adana center, which is near the Syrian border and a US air-force base at Incirlik, was set up at the suggestion of Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah during a trip to Turkey.