International support for Syria ‘loose’


Published — Thursday 17 January 2013

Last update 16 January 2013 11:07 pm

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BEIRUT: The deputy head of the main opposition coalition criticized world yesterday for failing to make good on promises to help the group isolate the embattled president.
Pledges of support from states had proven cosmetic and “loose”, the group’s Vice President George Sabra told an Arabic newspaper.
“There is no real political support coming to the coalition to help isolate the regime,” he said.
“The friends of the Syrian regime are providing it with the tools to kill and the friends of the Syrian people are giving the regime the time it needs.”
World powers have shown little appetite for armed intervention in Syria. The United States on Tuesday played down a media report that chemical weapons had been used in the country — a move US President Barack Obama has said would be a “red line” for Assad.
Meanwhile, the World Food Program said yesterday they were told to step up food aid to some 2.5 million Syrians going hungry, but did not say when it would be able to reach them all.
Meanwhile, three car bombs exploded within minutes of each other in northwest Syria yesterday, killing at least two dozen people in a coordinated assault on government positions, a monitoring group said.
Fighting has spread throughout much of Syria and upended civilian life in many areas as fighters have pushed to uproot President Bashar Assad’s better-equipped forces and tip the balance of the 22-month-old conflict.
Car bombs at government buildings and a checkpoint in Idlib province killed at least 24 people yesterday — most of them members of government forces — said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group.
“The car bombs exploded within minutes of each other. It seems they were coordinated,” the Observatory’s director, Rami Abdelrahman, said.
Reuters could not independently verify reports from inside Syria due to government restrictions on independent media.
Insurgents have often used bomb attacks to try to break a stalemate with government forces, who have far superior firepower including warplanes and ballistic missiles.
Elsewhere in the country, the Syrian military stepped up attacks in the cities of Idlib, Hama and Homs, and seized hundreds of heat-seeking missiles from militants in the southern province of Deraa, state media reported.
The armed forces renewed their assault on fighters in the northern city of Aleppo and its countryside, killing dozens in Sukari, Bab Al-Hadeed and Bustan Al-Qasr, SANA reported.
A day earlier, two explosions at Aleppo’s university killed at least 87 people, many of them students attending exams, in the deadliest attack on civilians to hit the commercial hub since rebels laid siege to it over the summer.
It is still unclear what caused the blasts, which each side blames on the other. Russia condemned the Aleppo explosions.
The UN count of the conflict’s dead has shot above 60,000.

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