Syrian rebels in talks with US seeking 'heavy weapons' to oust Assad regime

Last Updated: Sat, Jun 16, 2012 10:50 hrs

Syrian rebels have held meetings with senior US government officials in Washington, as pressure mounts on America to authorise a shipment of heavy weapons, including surface-to-air missiles to combat the Assad regime.

According to sources, a senior Free Syrian Army (FSA) representative met US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford and Frederick Hoff, special coordinator for the Middle East at the US State Department last week.

According to The Telegraph, Free Syrian Army representatives in Washington have compiled a "targeted list" of heavy weaponry, including anti-tank missiles and heavy machine guns that they plan to present to US government officials in the coming two weeks.

The consultations come ahead of next week's G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico where British and US officials are expected to make the last attempt to get the Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in the Syrian crisis.

The move, which was described as a "Libya lite" intervention in Syria, is expected to gather force following the anticipated failure of the Annan peace plan and the meeting of the Syria Contact Group scheduled for June 30 in Geneva.

Senior Middle Eastern diplomatic sources said that Libyan-supplied weapons, paid by Saudi Arabia and Qatari government funds, had already been stockpiled in anticipation of the "inevitable" intervention needed to displace the Assad regime.

"The intervention will happen. It is not a question of 'if', but 'when'. The Libyans are willing to provide the anti-tank weapons, others are prepared to pay for it," a source said. (ANI)

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