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Syrian opposition receiving funds to arm rebels | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Burhan Ghalioun, chairman of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), revealed: “The council has begun to receive financial resources, in the form of donations from some Arab and international countries. The council now is trying to obtain qualitative weapons to break the murderous arm of the Syrian regime.”

Ghalioun said that: “The priority now is to stop this murderous arm, and to remove Bashar al-Assad and the militias that currently govern Syria,” as he put it.

The SNC chairman explained that: “When the SNC discovered there was a lack of coordination with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), we opted to form the Military Consultative Council to coordinate this process.” Ghalioun pointed out: “We will obtain certain weapons through negotiations currently taking place with some countries,” but “delivering any aid into Syria is an extremely complicated logistical issue that is subject to many considerations.”

While Ghalioun described the regime’s bombardment of residential districts as “genocide”, he considered claims that mutual violence is taking place in Syria to be “extremely biased, because it is impossible to compare some individuals carrying light weaponry in defense of themselves and their honor to a heavy war machine that uses missiles, artillery, and aircraft.”

Ghalioun stressed that: “The SNC is currently concerned with ensuring that the second Friends of Syria conference is not as frustrating as the first, the results of which came below the aspirations of the Syrian revolution.”

The prominent Syrian opposition member sought to emphasize that: “The Syrian revolution will not cease; it is not a minor protest movement that can be quelled through oppression and killings.” Ghalioun added: “the Syrian people have already sacrificed so much, and they will not retreat.” He went on to say that: “The Syrian regime does not know the language of dialogue, it has ignored all political initiatives, and it has escalated from using light weaponry to full-scale shelling of districts in Homs, Idlib, and other governorates using mortar guns and missiles – even Grad missiles, which is beyond reason.”

While the activists within Syria welcomed Ghalioun’s announcement that the SNC has begun its pursuit to secure qualitative weapons for the revolutionaries, SNC member Osama al-Munjid told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We are carrying out this mission through our military bureau – which was established recently – but the task is yet to be completed. The bureau is about to draw up an estimated budget for the armament process.” Al-Munjid pointed out: “What Ghalioun spoke about concerns the planning stage, in order to assess the needs [of the revolutionaries].”

Al-Munjid revealed that: “What the SNC wants to do first is to try to control the process of smuggling weapons through neighboring countries in order to avoid chaos.” He explained: “Many countries have openly announced their desire to arm the forces of the Syrian opposition, and hence we have started a process of coordination with them.”

With regards to the types of weapons that the SNC is trying to secure, Al-Munjid revealed: “We are trying to bring in individual weaponry that will make a qualitative difference on the ground. We are specifically trying to secure anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles, such as the amended SAM-14.”