British Government to Send Military Aid to Syrian Rebels


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The British Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced that the U.K. will send armored vehicles and body armor to Syrian rebels. From Sky News:

In a statement to the Commons, William Hague said Britain would increase aid to Syrian opposition forces, including providing "new types of non-lethal equipment for the protection of civilians", after EU sanctions had been amended.

He said the UK, along with the National Coalition, was in the middle of trying to identify "the protective equipment that will be of most use to them and likely to save most lives".

"It will certainly include armoured four-wheel drive vehicles to help opposition forces move around more freely as well as personal protection equipment including body armour," he added.

Testing equipment to provide evidence of any use of chemical weapons by the regime and training for armed groups in international human rights and legal standards is also being sent.

Mr Hague said £3m had been allocated this month for the work with another £10m to follow—urging other countries to do the same.

Understandably some Members of Parliament are concerned about where this might lead.

The announcement comes on the same day that the Arab League released a statement saying that members are free to send weapons to the Syrian rebels.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently announced that the U.S. would not be providing Syrian rebels with military aid. From Middle East Online:

Kerry stressed there was no question of arming the Syrian opposition, even as his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal insisted on the right of Syrians to self-defence.

The United States will continue to work with its "friends to empower the Syrian opposition," Kerry told reporters during a joint press conference with Prince Saud.

Asked about reports of arms being sent to Syria's rebels from countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Kerry replied: "The moderate opposition has the ability to make sure that the weapons are getting to them and not to the wrong hands."