Friends of Syria group agrees to send military aid to Syrian rebels


Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani speaks at the first 'Friends of Syria' conference in Tunis on February 24, 2012. FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images


Fethi Bilaid

The so-called 'Friends of Syria' group has vowed to give urgent military aid to Syrian rebels.

The agreement came during a meeting in Doha of the 11-nation coalition that opposes Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Foreign ministers of the mostly Middle Eastern Sunni states agreed to: "to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies".

As the Assad government closes in on the Syrian rebel militias in Aleppo, opposition groups outside the country are eager to help the rebels push back.

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The 'Friends of Syria' agreement is aimed at helping to change that imbalance and strengthen the rebel positions but few specifics were given about what would be done.

Heavy fighting occurred in the capital Damascus on Friday with government forces working to cut off rebel supply lines in the city.

Tanks and mortars have been deployed in rebel-held areas and buildings were reportedly on fire.

Syrian government forces, along with Hezbollah allies, have also been in conflict with rebels in northern Syria over important air bases.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Syrian government claimed that an assault on rebel-held parts of Aleppo was imminent but the attack has yet to materialize.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Qatar over the next few days meeting with the 'Friends of Syria' group to discuss strategies to end the bloodshed.

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