Turkey says EU arms embargo on Syrian rebels skews conflict

By REUTERS
March 8, 2013 20:53

LONDON - Turkey said on Friday anti-government fighters in Syria were at a disadvantage because they weren't properly armed, and stopped just short of calling for a European Union arms embargo to be lifted.

In some of his strongest comments on the subject so far, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he had discussed the embargo barring delivery of all arms to Syria with Britain and Germany.

Turkey, which shares a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, is seen as a pivotal player in backing the Syrian opposition and in planning for the era after Syria's President Bashar Assad.

"If there was international support ... or a common stance against certain war crimes, I don't think there would be a need for arming the rebels," Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to Britain, saying he thought such pressure would topple Assad.

But the minister said he had discussed the status of the embargo with British Foreign Secretary William Hague as well as with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who has publicly defended the embargo.


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