A leading rebel on Monday blamed the global community for failing to protect the Syrian people, saying it was ignoring the regime’s “massacres” by refusing to arm the insurgents.
“The international community, by delaying to put pressure on the regime and preventing the arming of the rebels, assumes full responsibility for the massacres,” said Colonel Kassem Saadeddine, spokesperson for the rebels.
Contacted via Skype, he said that Sunday’s “Friends of Syria” conference held in Istanbul “did nothing to protect the defenceless population and arm the Free Syrian Army.”
“If the international community wanted to, it would have done so in the first month” of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, he added.
Saadeddine, however, welcomed the international community’s recognition of the opposition Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
He said “the regime would collapse immediately” if the UN Security Council approves the arming of the rebels, and establishes no-fly and buffer zones in Syrian cities to prevent regime troops from entering.
Western and Arab nations participating in the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul called Sunday for Assad to be given a deadline to meet the terms of international peacebroker Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
The Istanbul conference also urged the United Nations to act to stop the violence, but steered clear of backing opposition appeals for arms to fight the regime clampdown.
“We advise Mr. Annan to take every effort because the regime understands only the language of force,” Saadeddine said.
“If Annan’s plan is not implemented immediately, it will give the regime another excuse to continue killing,” said the colonel, who speaks on behalf of the FSA command inside Syria.
According to UN estimates, more than 9,000 people have died in the Syrian regime’s crackdown on the uprising that began in March last year, inspired by Arab Spring protests that toppled long-time dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, while an armed rebellion also killed Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi. source