Gulf states, SNC to bankroll Syrian rebels
02 April 2012
RT - The Gulf states are creating a multimillion-dollar fund to bankroll the rebels battling the regime of President Assad. The Syrian National Council is going to provide salaries to Free Syrian Army soldiers and defectors from the Syrian armed forces.
“The SNC will take charge of the payment of fixed salaries of all officers, soldiers, and others who are members of the Free Syrian Army,” Council head Burhan Ghalioun said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are to pay millions of dollars monthly to provide salaries to Free Syrian Army soldiers and those who have defected from the regime and joined opposition forces, AP reports.
One of the officials called the fund a “pot of gold” to undermine President Bashar Assad's army.
The report says the details of the plan are still being worked out. It is unclear at the moment how the fund will be set up and monitored, or how the salaries would be guaranteed.
The salaries are meant to organize the fragmented Free Syrian Army into more coherent armed force, as well as encourage other soldiers to defect from the government army.
The United States has also announced additional American ‘aid to the Syrian people’ that will bring the total to $12 million.
In addition, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the US is providing communications equipment to help opposition members in Syria organize and remain in contact with the outside world.
The announcements came during the second “Friends of Syria” conference which is taking place in Istanbul this weekend. The meeting gathered more than 70 representatives of Arab and Western countries who support the Syrian opposition in its fight against the President Assad regime.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia called on the “Friends of Syria” to arm the rebels, saying supplying weapons is a “duty.” However, most of the conference participants are not ready to provide anything beyond non-lethal aid.
Journalist and political analyst Christoph Hoerstel told RT that salaries for the rebels are not news, as they “have been paid since the beginning.”
He insists that the conflict in Syria had been planned in advance from as early as summer 2010, and that this information “kills the whole story the West and some of those corrupt allies… are making out of Syria.”