Syria rebels issue urgent plea to U.S.
UNITED NATIONS — The leader of Syria's Western-backed opposition group told Secretary John Kerry on Thursday that the United States must quickly supply rebels with promised weapons to prevent a military victory by President Bashar Assad's regime.
Ahmad Al-Jarba, in a statement sent out while he was meeting with Kerry at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, called the situation in Syria “desperate” and said the opposition urgently needs American action “to push the international community to demand a political transition.”
The newly elected head of the Syrian National Coalition accused the Assad regime of using indiscriminate weapons ranging from chemical weapons to cluster bombs and said opposition fighters must have weapons to defend themselves and protect civilians.
The Obama administration decided in June to begin arming Syrian rebels groups when the United States said it had conclusive evidence that Assad's regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces. But the United States has not sent any weapons amid concerns they could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-backed groups and other extremists.
Syria's rebels, however, have recently received shipments of more powerful weapons from gulf allies, particularly anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
Kerry met with Al-Jarba in an effort to promote international efforts to convene a conference in Geneva to try to move forward with a transitional government based on a plan adopted in that city a year ago.
Kerry stressed earlier in the day that “there is no military solution” to the 2½-year-old civil war.
“There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table,” he said. He stood beside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who minutes earlier announced the grim new death toll.
Kerry said the opposition agreed to work to pinpoint the conditions under which a new Geneva conference can work.
They believe Geneva “is very important, and we are going to work it out,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. airstrikes beat back Islamic State’s push for Mosul dam
- Gunman in Ottawa attack had been waiting for passport to go to Syria
- Saudis tell women: Don’t defy and drive
- Deadly crash into train station prompts crackdown in Jerusalem
- Teen girls found no roadblock to flights
- China’s Communist Party angles to improve judiciary
- Shiites killed in series of attacks on Baghdad
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Tourism in Iran increases 35%
- Iran considers compromise offer on nuclear program
- Iraq gives key posts to Sunni, Shiite men