Report: Turkey and Qatar cut arms supply until divided factions unite

October 01, 2012, Monday/ 16:58:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkey and Qatar, two of the staunchest opponents of the Bashar al-Assad regime, have reportedly cut arms supplies to Syria's lightly armed opposition forces, bent on toppling the regime in Damascus, until the divided opposition factions unite.

UK daily The Independent claimed that Turkish and Qatari officials contacted representatives of the opposition forces and told them to form a united command structure in order to lead a more robust and effective military campaign against Damascus in the 18-month-old uprising.

The Turkish and Qatari officials made it clear that heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, which opposition fighters are desperately in need of, will not be made available until the formation of a united command structure among various factions.

Nearly 30,000 people have been killed in Syria since protests against the Assad regime broke out last year.

After Syrian troops began to harshly repress once-peaceful demonstrations, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) emerged to conduct a military campaign against the regime's loyal forces.

Damascus accuses foreign powers -- including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Western countries and neighboring Turkey -- of abetting terrorism and arming gangs bent on destroying the stability and social peace in Syria. In response, Turkey and Qatar have called on Assad to step down to hear the demands of Syria's people and to allow a peaceful transition to a democratic system.

Turkey hosts the Syrian National Council (SNC). The FSA recently moved its headquarters from Turkey to a place in Syria liberated by opposition forces to coordinate military efforts in a more effective way.

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