UK & World News
Syria Anniversary: EU Pressed On Arms Embargo
Britain and France will press the EU today to lift an arms embargo against Syria and unblock military aid to rebels on the second anniversary of the uprising.
David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande will address a summit in Brussels.
They will say they are both anxious to be freed up to despatch lethal weaponry if necessary to rebalance the odds in the continuing bloody war.
Two years after the start of the Syrian uprising, the pair will urge the others to bring forward the end-of-May date for reviewing the existing arms embargo, which only allows for "non-lethal" military support.
Syria was not originally on the agenda at a summit discussing the economic crisis designed to step up efforts to boost jobs and growth and revive economic recovery prospects.
But Mr Cameron and Mr Hollande got together on arrival in Brussels yesterday, agreeing their countries were both ready to go it alone if necessary to help the rebels.
The idea is controversial, with some EU leaders concerned the move could escalate the Syrian crisis by putting weapons in the hands of the wrong rebel groups.
But Mr Cameron and Mr Hollande argue that the desired political solution first needs a more equal military balance - something the EU's own arms embargo is preventing.
And so far the odds on winning the necessary unanimous accord to lift the arms embargo before the scheduled review date look slim.
"There is a perversity about the EU arms embargo ... it is backfiring," said one Downing Street official. "The embargo does not stop those aiding Assad, but it does stop those who want to help the opposition."
But the official said there was currently no intention of defying the rest without further negotiations, adding: "We are not considering going ahead (with arming the rebels) while the current arms embargo is in place.
"What we want is to start the discussion about changing the arms embargo."
Mr Cameron has already hinted that "it's not out of the question we might have to do things in our own way".
And Mr Hollande said yesterday: "We are ready to support the rebels ... we cannot allow the massacre of a people by a regime which right now does not want a political transition."
Meanwhile the summit is due to agree conclusions vowing to focus on competitiveness to generate jobs and growth and get stagnant economies moving.
But tensions remain between countries intent on strict austerity measures and those favouring more flexible budget restrictions to give space for recovery.
what do you think?
When will daft Cameron learn that you just dont arm a disorganised rabble. For the past 2years reports and pictures of Al Queda fighting along side the so called rebels have emerged from Syria. They have no stuctured command or any policies for the future if perhaps they should win.Russia which has invested several billion on their only naval base in the Med.has yet to declare its real interest. So apart from the fact that British troops could be on the receiving end of all this new weaponry our glorious leader could start an international incident...........Pass the ammo Cammo.
They are being used by us and if assad falls Syria will be a self destructive state for decades to come. Many factions and rebel groups just like Iraq. Just what we want by the time the puppet leader is the figure head of the country.
Why are the politicians supporting head-chopping jihadists?
Can you believe we are helping the terrorists in Syria and killing them in Mali. Just think about that for a second. And assad is not a nice man, but we have destroyed Syria by not letting him control his state. And have you noticed the young picture of the young Syrian girl posted on walls, news papers, the web etc. Talk bout playing on the publics heart strings. Pure propaganda to gain sympathy. We must help! What can we do?! Our government must send rpgs, tanks and sophisticated military styled weapons to decimated the country and probably blow the poor girl and her family to bits. Go online and see the endless atrocities the so called free Syrian army (or as i call them the fake Syrian army) are committing day in day out. Horrific and beyond your worst nightmares. Hague and Cameron need to be arrested for crimes against humanity.
Plenty of terrorist sympathisers out today, have a look at the self-filmed footage of your "freedom fighters" murdering Syrian Post Office workers.