Syrian opposition chief asks for "specialized weapons"
The head of the new coalition of Syrian opposition , Moaz Ahmad al-Khatib, on Tuesday urged the international community to supply weapons to fight the forces of Bashar al-Assad. "We need specialized weapons so the rebellion could end the suffering of the Syrians and bloodshed," al-Khatib said in Cairo, where representatives of the European Union and the Arab League met.
Al-Khatib also said that the new body was representative of the majority of the opposition. "Several groups have joined (the coalition). Some have reservations and we are in contact with everyone. It is the largest coalition of Syrian opposition and it also represents the domestic (opposition)," he added.
Earlier, Mr. al-Khatib met the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius in a Cairo hotel. Fabius and head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton Tuesday assured the new coalition of providing support, but without a formal recognition.
The French Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, further stated that it was too early to Paris to recognize the new coalition of the Syrian opposition. "What happened in Doha is in the right direction. We believe this is a significant step forward," he said Tuesday. "This is not a sufficient progress (...) but it is in the right way, " he added.
First to recognize the new "National Coalition of Syrian opposition forces and the revolution," were the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Oman) who expressed "Hope that (the new entity) is a step towards a rapid transfer of power."
The Arab League, in turn, called the coalition the "main partner" and "legitimate representative of the opposition," a phrase that aims to satisfy all its members. Countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria have expressed their reservations about this recognition.
Not surprisingly, Washington and London, who have repeatedly called for the unification of the opposition, had promised their support, while Moscow reiterated its call to promote dialogue with Assad.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two of the major international organizations of human rights, on Tuesday called the new coalition of the Syrian opposition to put top priority in the fight against abuses committed by rebels.
After discussing several videos showing atrocities and executions committed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), HRW said that "whoever is in the hands of the FSA or other opposition forces, including members of the Syrian security forces or chabbiha (pro-regime militia) should be treated according to international laws on human rights. "
On the ground, new deadly fighting reported between rebels and soldiers in Damascus and its suburbs , reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR). At least 10 soldiers and rebels were killed in fighting in the village of Kharbou in the Eastern Ghouta area, which is bordering Damascus, said the SOHR, adding that the clashes erupted after insurgent attack against public buildings .
In Daraya, 7 kilometers south of the capital, a rebel and six civilians were killed when the army responded with artillery to attack by the rebellion against military checkpoints, according to the SOHR.
In another suburb, Zamalka , state television said that security forces had killed an "armed terrorist gang."