June 14, 2013
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has warned against the humanitarian ramifications of the US decision to provide new weapons to militants in Syria, saying the scenario will spark an “arms race” in the Arab country.
“I don’t think the way forward is to get an arms race going in Syria. There’s a risk that that would undermine the conditions for a political process,” Bildt said in a Friday TV interview.
The New York Times reported on June 13 that US President Barack Obama has decided to begin supplying the militants in Syria with small arms and ammunition. The assistance, coordinated by the CIA spy agency, could include antitank weapons, the paper said.
Bildt expressed concern that the US scenario to arm the militants in Syria would prompt Russia to boost its military support for the Syrian government.
“There’s no doubt that that would be very serious and [may] have even more serious humanitarian consequences,” the Swedish foreign minister added.
On Friday, top commander of foreign-backed militants in Syria, Brigadier General Salim Idris, welcomed the US decision, expressing hope that it “will be implemented on the ground as soon as possible.”
The turmoil in Syria erupted in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed so far.
In May, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said militants from 29 different countries were fighting against the government in different parts of the country.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on June 13 that at least 93,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the foreign-sponsored militancy against the Syrian government.