Romney to urge Turkey to give arms to Syrian opposition

Romney to urge Turkey to give arms to Syrian opposition

Mitt Romney (Photo: EPA)

June 17, 2012, Sunday/ 22:21:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

US President Barack Obama’s presumptive Republican rival Mitt Romney has harshly criticized Obama on remaining indifferent to the Syrian situation, claiming that he would adopt a Syria policy that includes encouraging US allies in the region such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide arms support to struggling opposition groups, if he wins the presidential race.

Speaking at a Washington meeting of the Faith and Freedom Coalition by videoconference on Saturday, Romney maintained that if he was elected president, US would be able to see a more active leadership in intervening in the Syrian situation.

Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed at a private meeting in late March in Seoul to provide intelligence and medical support to the Syrian opposition to coordinate their activities through the country, but they ruled out giving arms aid due to concerns that this would incite a full-fledged civil war in the country.

Meanwhile, English daily The Independent claimed last week that Syrian rebel fighters struggling against the state army, which has relied on arms support from countries such as Russia and Iran, acquire weapons from Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar transported via Turkey.

Adding to criticism on the president’s Syria stance, Romney claimed he would do “the opposite” of what Obama has done thus far as regards the Israeli-Iran nuclear tension, accusing Obama of being more concerned with preventing an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran due to Iran’s nuclear ambitions than with Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran is dragging its feet on opening its nuclear sites to international inspection as Western governments and the US urge the country to do so. Iran claims its nuclear program is just to obtain peaceful energy.

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