'Syria: Anti-Assad protesters use Israeli-made weapons'

Syrian delegation to Arab League claims opposition uses grenades, machine guns made in Israel; Arab League calls for dialogue in Syria.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
October 16, 2011 22:28
1 minute read.
Anti-Assad protesters in Homs

Anti-Assad protesters in Homs 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)

 
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Syria on Sunday claimed that anti-government protesters in Syria have been using weapons that were manufactured in Israel, Israel Radio reported.

The Syrian delegation to the Arab League said during a meeting in Cairo that Syrian TV will show images of Israeli-made grenades and machine guns that were taken from dissidents calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

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Arab foreign ministers held an urgent meeting on Sunday to discuss whether to suspend Syria from their regional organization over Assad's military crackdown on protests against his rule.

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According to Israel Radio, Syria was the only country present not to send its foreign minister, but rather a lower-level official.
In the end, the regional body did not decide to suspend Syria. Instead, the Arab League made plans to bring together Syria's government and opposition groups to seek ways to end the violence in the country, Qatar's Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said following the meeting. According to the plan, a committee will be formed to forge a dialogue between the opposition and the government.

"We will call all of the parties of the opposition and government to hold a dialogue within 15 days," the League's Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said after an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

Arab governments were silent for months while Assad's troops tried to put down the uprising with tanks and machine guns. But the country is now in danger of descending into a civil war that could destabilize its neighbors.

According to the Dubai-based Al Arabiya, the
resolution that would have suspended Syria from the Arab League revealed a split in the Arab League.

Chief among the opposing nations were Yemen, Algeria, and Lebanon, an Al Arabiya correspondent said. Yemen has been seeing a similar kind of anti-government protests as in Syria, with protesters there calling for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.



Assad has intensified a military crackdown to crush protests demanding his resignation. The United Nations says the crackdown has killed 3,000 people.

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