Britain has for the first time raised the spectre of al-Qaida operating in Syria, while at the same time accusing Damascus of brutally targeting specific communities and driving Syrians to take up arms.
The foreign secretary, William Hague, said regime forces were bombarding neighbourhoods then unleashing militia groups to murder civilians in their homes. He said more sanctions against the regime were likely if the UN-brokered peace plan continued to fail, and again appeared to leave open an option for some sort of intervention in the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria.
Hague said security assessments had indicated the presence in Syria of al-Qaida, a group disavowed by the main opposition force, the Free Syria Army, but who regime officials insist are at the vanguard of a now raging insurgency.
“We … have reason to believe that terrorist groups affiliated to al-Qaida have committed attacks designed to exacerbate the violence, with serious implications for international security,” said Hague in a speech to the Commons.
He offered no details. The US has previously said it believed al-Qaida could have been responsible for bombing a security headquarters in Damascus in December.
Phantom Report Notes: You seriously have to be a complete idiot to believe this report.Al-Qaeda does not exist as portrayed by the media/government/corporations. Read: Hillary Clinton Admits US and Al-Qaeda On Same Side in Syria and Israel smuggling weapons to Syria through Iraqi Kurdistan. Located this article today, ” Syrian rebels’ arsenal includes remote-controlled truck bombs at $200K apiece ” the article just happen to mention that Libyan fighters were on their way to Damascus. ? U.S. Still Hunting for Missing Libyan Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) .
When a group of Libyan fighters passed through Kafer Zaita a few days ago en route to Damascus, they were peppered with questions by rebels eager to find ways to fight the better-equipped army forces. One of the Libyans suggested soaking blankets in diesel fuel and leaving them in the streets: “When a tank rolls over it, set it on fire, with an RPG” – meaning a rocket-propelled grenade – “or a Molotov cocktail. It won’t destroy the tank, but it gets so hot that the soldiers have to get out.” The Syrians listened in rapt attention.
Violence in Syria showed no letup on Monday, with scores of opposition fighters and regime troops again killed in fierce fighting in parts of Homs city and the surrounding province. An area north of Latakia, near the Turkish border, was targeted by helicopter gunships, which also roamed the skies of central Syria near a military base that was raided by the Free Syria Army, with the help of defectors, on Sunday.
The raid, the first large-scale assault by the Free Syria Army on a military base since the start of the Syrian uprising, has given impetus to claims that the anti-regime insurgency is gaining momentum after 16 haphazard months.
Buoyed by defectors, scores of whom are thought to have aided the attack on the al-Ghanto air defence base near Homs on Sunday, opposition fighters seized large amounts of weapons and ammunition – a rare haul during many months of battles that has seen them severely outgunned by loyalist forces.
The area targeted by helicopters near the Turkish border is home to several corridors where evidence of co-ordinated arms-smuggling into Syria has recently been confirmed. A witness to one transfer said scores of AK-47s and ammunition had been smuggled across the border and paid for in cash in the days following the Houla massacre in late May, in which at least 100 died.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have suggested since February that they supported arming opposition groups. However, evidence of state-backed weapons runs has been difficult to find in northern Syria, where Free Syria Army units are mainly using small-arms supplied by defectors, or bought from still-serving loyalist troops.
Weapons have at times also made it across the Lebanese borders, with one supply line through the Bekaa valley delivering guns and rockets from civil war era arms bazaars and another through the far north providing more modern weaponry, some of which is believed to have come from Libya.
Read More: Guardian