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A Syrian Rebel in Aleppo (WN)
A Syrian Rebel in Aleppo (WN)

Western Countries voiced more support for Syrian rebels

(Dp-news)
Agencies- Leaders of France, Britain and the United States have held phone conversations to discuss how to provide further support for Syria's opposition, which is fighting an increasingly fierce war with government forces.

A statement by the White House on Wednesday said a phone call between President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron covered a "wide array of global issues," including the conflict in Syria and the need for increased participation from other countries to support the Syrian opposition.

The two leaders exchanged views on "ways the international community can assist those displaced by the conflict, apply pressure on the Assad regime, and support the opposition so that the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people can be realized," the statement said.

"As with (French President) Hollande, the prime minister and Obama discussed how to build on the support already given to the opposition to end the appalling violence in Syria and bring about stability," the statement added.

Another statement from Cameron's office said the two leaders agreed that the use or threat of use of chemical weapons by Syria was "completely unacceptable" and would force them to "revisit their approach" to the conflict.

Other press reports added that British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama warned Wednesday they would be forced to consider a new course of action if Syria threatens to use chemical weapons on rebel fighters.

The two leaders agreed during a telephone call that “the use – or threat – of chemical weapons was completely unacceptable and would force them to revisit their approach so far.”

Western countries and some of its Arab allies have agreed in early July at a "Friends of Syria" meeting to "greatly increase assistance to the opposition" by giving them tools to communicate more securely with each other and the outside world.

Some of the Arab countries have also been reportedly providing weaponry to Syria's rebels. All the countries accused of arming the opposition by the Syrian government have so far denied the allegation.

Also on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Western countries of engaging in "open incitement" of the Syrian opposition.

"Our Western partners still have done nothing to influence the opposition and to encourage it for dialogue with the government. Instead, they are engaged in open incitement to continue the armed struggle," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Wednesday that Moscow believes Syria has no intention of using its chemical weapons and is able to safeguard them.

Kommersant quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying a “confidential dialogue” with the Syrian government has convinced Russia that “the Syrian authorities do not intend to use these weapons and are capable of keeping them under control themselves.”

Moscow has received this week a delegation headed by Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, who had visited the Russian capital only two weeks before.

In another related development, Iraq on Wednesday closed a major border checkpoint with Syria in its western Anbar province.

The protracted Syrian crisis has killed at least 18,000 people, according to UN figures.

In New York, United Nations political chief Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council the U.N. views the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria “with growing alarm.” He said about 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance while the number of displaced people in Syria and the flow of refugees to neighboring countries is growing.

The escalating violence has also made thousands flee to neighboring countries, and for those displaced inside Syria, about 2.5 million are in desperate need of aid, a UN official said.

The U.N. emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, who was in Syria last week, said U.N. agencies last month provided food for more than 820,000 people across Syria.

"This conflict has taken on a particularly brutal and violent character," UN aid chief Valerie Amos told a news conference in New York on Wednesday after visiting Syria and Lebanon last week.

"We face problems with access to people in need, particularly where there is intense and ongoing fighting, but funding is also holding us back. If we had more resources, we could reach more people," she said.

She added that the humanitarian situation there has worsened since a previous visit in March.
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