UK to help Syrian opposition unite against Assad with £500,000
29 Mar, 2012 23:04
The UK has announced it will allocate some £500,000 ($795,000) to supply non-military aid to the Syrian opposition. The Foreign Secretary says it will help the ‘hard-pressed’ opposition groups to register violations by the Assad government.
Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed hope that the assistance would help the opposition unite as a credible force to fight President Bashar Al-Assad.RT’s Laura Smith says exactly what type of support and equipment the opposition will receive is yet to be determined. What is already known is that the aid package is likely to include secure telephones that the British Foreign Secretary hopes will be used to document the regime’s violence.“It will help hard-pressed opposition groups and brave civil society organizations inside and outside the country to document the regime's violations and gain the skills and resources they need to help build a democratic future for Syria,” Hague explained. But questions are being raised over who exactly will receive the money, as the opposition within Syria is fractured. How this money will be used and who is to control the way it is spent also remains somewhat murky. President Assad has been repeatedly telling other countries to stop sponsoring the opposition. Failing to respect this principle could therefore put the implementation of the six-point plan put forward by Kofi Annan at risk. And with a looming tanker-driver strike fueling panic at Britain’s gas stations, providing funds to a splintered rebel group doesn’t seem to be right move for the public. The British aid package will be the first the country provides to the opposition within Syria. The UK had previously spent about £450,000 ($715,000) in assisting the opposition abroad. That money was used for training in strategic communication and providing support for those documenting human rights abuses in Syria. The United States and several European and Arab nations are also planning to discuss providing aid to the Syrian opposition at a meeting in Istanbul on April 1.Western aid undermines the ceasefire plan worked out by the UN, Infowars.com analyst and editor Patrick Henningsen told RT. Henningsen also says it could make Bashar al-Assad pull out of the talks, as the Syrian president has demanded that any kind of support to the opposition be stopped immediately.“President Assad is not going to accept the Kofi Annan’s peace plan as the Western countries are still giving aid to the opposition. Qatar has already been caught through proxy smuggling arms over the border in Jordan. Also there are arms going over the border with Lebanon. These are coming from the US, the UK and their allies in the region,” he said.