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UK might start arming the Syrian rebels

Publish Date04/03/2013 12:12:37 PM

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UK’s Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, William Hague, said Sunday that his country might start arming Syrian rebels if the death toll and humanitarian crisis continues to worsen.

Hague will make a statement to parliament this week detailing a new package of aid to the rebels. This follows a relaxation of the EU rules on what can be sent to Syria.

“If this is going to go on for months, or years, and more tens of thousands of people are going to die, and countries like Iraq and Lebanon and Jordan are going to be destabilized, it is not something we can ignore”, Hague said.

According to the foreign secretary, the new aid would be non-lethal, excluding weapons and ammunition, but he stressed that policy could change as the conflict continues, yet he expressed his fears from the risks of arms falling into the wrong hands.

"If ever we get into that situation (of supplying weapons to the opposition) the risks of arms falling into the wrong hands is one of the great constraints. And it is one of the reasons we don`t do it now. But these things are a balance of risk”, said Hague.

On Saturday, President Bashar al-Assad accused Britain of neocolonialism, dampening hopes of peace negotiations that had been raised in Moscow last week when the Syrian regime was presumably ready to talk with the opposition.

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