Syria: Insurgents demand UN seat. Arab League,yes to weapons

Opposition asks Nato to use Patriots, Brussels refuses

27 March, 11:04

Syrian National Coalition (SNC) President Mouaz al-Khatib (C) speaks to media during the Arab League summit in Doha Syrian National Coalition (SNC) President Mouaz al-Khatib (C) speaks to media during the Arab League summit in Doha

(by Claudio Accogli) (ANSAmed) - ROME - Syria's opposition is demanding a seat at the United Nations and has obtained Damascus' place within the Arab League, which meanwhile gave a green light to its members to provide weapons to rebels. However, Nato refused to use Patriot missile batteries in Turkey to defend rebel-held areas in northern Syria from Bashar al-Assad's air raids. The summit in Doha opened with the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, officially inviting Moaz al Khatib to take the seat which used to belong to Damascus. The Arab League then agreed to provide rebels with weapon. 'Arab countries have the right to arm the opposition', said the summit's resolution, which called on the international community to support the organization's stance and recognize the Coalition of oppositions as the 'only legitimate representative' of the Syrian people.

Damascus, which was suspended from the Arab League a year ago, has slammed the opposition's membership within the organization as 'illegal and unreasonable'. During his speech Khatib, the outgoing leader of the Coalition, condemned once again the international community for 'doing nothing' to stop the bloodshed in Syria where 70,000 people have already died, according to UN figures. In a surprise move, Khatib then asked Nato to use Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey to defend rebel-held areas.

'We have no intention of intervening in Syria', responded an official of the Atlantic Alliance while the Turkish press said such an hypothesis would be a declaration of war by Ankara to Damascus.

Khatib also asked that the opposition be granted Syria's UN seat, but this option also appears to have little plausibility.

Becoming a member of the League was however a great result achieved by the Sunni imam and his resignation as Coalition chief announced on Sunday should be refused, according to reports in the Arab press. 'It will not be accepted', said a Coalition spokesperson.(ANSAmed).

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