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Qatar Grants Syrian Opposition Embassy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat-Qatar has become the first state to turn over embassy facilities to the Syrian opposition, according to a statement released by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC).

The statement said that Qatar had decided to allow the building, which formerly housed the Syrian embassy in Doha, to be used by the organisation, which has already appointed an official as ambassador to the Gulf state. The ambassador, named in the statement as Nizar Al Haraki, will enjoy full diplomatic status, as will two members of his staff.

Speaking to AFP by phone, Al Haraki confirmed that the Qatari authorities had accepted his ambassadorial appointment. He said, “A formal decision has been made to accept my appointment as ambassador. I will start work along with two other diplomats.” The SNC has appointed ambassadors to other states that have recognized it, including the UK and France. However Qatar remains the first country to hand over an embassy to the Syrian opposition umbrella group.

Qatar was one of the first states to recognise the SNC as the official representative of the state of Syria, and its leaders were among the first to call for the arming of the Syrian opposition in its struggle with the government of Bashar Al-Assad, together with the government of neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Qatar was also at the forefront of calls to suspend Syria from the Arab League.

According to press reports, small arms from Qatar have allegedly already turned up in the hands of Syrian rebels, though the US has prevented Qatar and its allies from shipping heavy weapons to any of the groups battling to topple Assad’s government out of fear that they would fall into the hands of terrorists.

The SNC official statement read, “Qatar has taken the decision to hand over the Syrian embassy building in Doha to Mr. Nizar Al Haraki” adding “Qatar has acted faster than the Friends of Syria coalition.” The SNC also stressed that, “The flag of the revolution will be raised above the building.” During the Libyan revolution, the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) taking over the country’s embassies abroad spelled the end of the Gaddafi regime.

The Libyan revolutionaries took over Libya’s London embassy on August 09 2011, weeks before Tripoli fell into rebel hands. Speaking at the time, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “The NTC is the sole legitimate governmental authority in Libya. It is therefore right that their representatives are now staffing the Libyan Embassy.”