Syrian opposition leader: We're going to ask for arms, more help
President Bashar al-Assad addresses soldiers during his visit to the Baba Amr neighbourhood in the restive city of Homs on March 27, 2012.
March 30th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Syrian opposition leader: We're going to ask for arms, more help

By Jill Dougherty

A leading member of the Syrian opposition says their leaders, who hope to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this week, will request more assistance as the siege by Bashar al-Assad's government continues.

Leaders of the Syrian National Council, the largest opposition group, will attend the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Istanbul this weekend. The meeting, a follow-up to an earlier gathering in Tunisia, will focus on ways to put a stop to the carnage in Syria and support a transition to democracy.

Representatives from 60 countries are invited.

Clinton will travel to Istanbul from Saudi Arabia, where she is scheduled to meet with King Abdullah to discuss a range of issues, including the situation in Syria.

The Syrian opposition is expected to make a presentation outlining attempts to unite the various factions of the movement and how the international community can help.

Radwan Ziadeh, a visiting scholar at George Washington University, tells CNN the activists will ask for three things:

1. The implementation of a safe zone on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey.

2. The establishment of a no-fly zone over the safe zone.

3. Arms for the Free Syrian Army, an opposition group inside Syria comprised mainly of former government soldiers who defected to the opposition.

Previously, the United States has made it clear it will provide only nonlethal assistance such as communications equipment and medical supplies to the FSA. But Ziadeh says the United States "can give the green light" to other countries such as Qatar to provide arms. He says the crucial weapons needed are antitank weapons.

Support for such assistance to the opposition is growing on Capitol Hill. Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut have called for foreign airpower to stop the government "slaughter" and save innocent lives.

The lawmakers introduced a resolution in Congress that calls for providing weapons and other material support to the Syrian opposition.

The Obama administration has pointed to the disparate nature of the Syrian opposition as a concern when it comes to extending U.S. assistance. Senior officials have said elements of al Qaeda could be exploiting the situation to sow chaos in the region.

The opposition "must be able to clearly demonstrate a commitment to including all Syrians and protecting the rights of all Syrians," Clinton told reporters earlier this week. "We are going to be pushing them very hard to present such a vision in Istanbul. So, we have a lot of work to do."

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. the wise

    Stop supporing zionist aggression.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  2. adrian

    l nomber of the dead poeples in syria did stop .no one is counting the dead or the injurd or the people in prison .obama and clinton dont want to help the peoples the massacre are worth the one inprison are going out after a month or criple or can not move or the rape victim can see and look in the face of any person or no money left with them beacause the alshabiha ask the parent to pay million of syrian to free there kids .we are not alkaada,terroriste we are simple human wont freedom ,respect and the minimum of degree of the live if the US did not lead the UN or part of UN the help of the syrian assad will kill million of people can obama end clinton and eny person ho have a hard can suport that .did they beleve that the syrian are human or they think we are nothing because for the dog theye care .are we having the result of the regime is became inegypte or libya .or the natanyaho wont assad to stay in power and obama have to take the order and stop filling .i dont have unsser pls help me to know i have a lot of pain to see that the world dont care.this is not arak and not afganistan is syria and if you wont to tel me syria have a big army is not true as mckain said if the american can not defit the syrian army is big trouble pls try to find honest answer is all ways you been in the top of reporter thank you

    March 30, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • denied

      adrian,

      hey guy your spelling is bad but your situation is devastating but it does touch my heart , but the answer to this slaughter by assad is in moscow , obama and others will not make a move against putin , obama must lead the way and if he does not than no one is going to take up your cause .
      assad is a mad man but moscow and iran is fully supporting assad so what does that make them ?

      if an answer of true peace is going to come it will come from russia , BUT I WOULD IN NO WAY COUNT ON THAT !
      a bit of advice , STAY LOW AND BE READY TO GO AT ALL TIMES

      March 30, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply
      • Cemara

        Gautam das employee of Indian army unedcrover agent realted with a terriost group,Late Ajit shah owner of buses in west bengal her daughters nickname Beauty and Aunty.A renowned tollywood actor of kolkata named Khusal chakroboarty is realted with it.They use dame or voice mimcry artist globally to operate which is also deeply involved with the operations.They also carryout other criminal activites.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • martin

      @DENIED- You are correcting Adrian on his spelling? Did you read your post? Many mispellings buddy and it you havent realized he is not from here, so actually he did pretty well with grammar. How classy, critisize his grammar when he is dealing with the Syrian army invading? Moron! @-ADRIAN, prayers for you Adrian, stay low and out of harms way, good luck & wish you the best.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
  3. DENIED

    there has been no boader conflicks and it is going to stay that way , sorry no arms dude .

    March 30, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
    • martin

      @DENIED, bro, your grammar sucks and you are American that cant spell, but you are correcting Adrian who is not from here. Seriously, do you have a brain?

      March 30, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
      • boston

        DENIED is right no arms or america will be dragg into a regional war. Irak was not good enough for you so many lifes lost for nothing. Look at Lybia today can you really say that our intervention improve the situation...no this is worst. But if you are so concern about these members of al qaeda go there nobody stop you.

        March 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

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