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Arab League Summit: Arab States Have the Right to Arm Syria’s Opposition Forces


An Arab League summit agreed on Tuesday that Arab League member states had the right to provide military support to Syrians fighting President Bashar al-Assad, according to a draft declaration. But at the same time stating that reaching a political solution was a priority in ending the Syrian crisis, the summit “affirms every state’s right, according to its desire, to present all kinds of measures for self-defence, including military ones, to support the steadfastness of the Syrian people and the Free Army,” the draft document said.

The meeting held in the Gulf state of Qatar, urged regional and international organizations to recognize the opposition National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the draft said.
While it has diplomatic significance, the summit’s draft language on arming the opposition forces may not have immediate practical implications for Arab policymakers: Arab states are not subject to the European Union and US arms embargoes on Syria, and many therefore consider themselves free to supply the opposition forces with weapons.

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