Outside powers need to act fast to protect Syrians because foreign military backing for the government is "changing the equation" of the war, Qatar's foreign minister said today.
For 14 days, a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive has been underway to capture eastern Aleppo and crush the last urban stronghold of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad that began in 2011.
The collapse of the latest Syria ceasefire has heightened the possibility that Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar – backers of Syrian opposition groups – might arm the opposition with shoulder-fired missiles to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes, US officials have said.
Qatar's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, told a news conference in Singapore today that the Friends of Syria group – an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Al-Assad – had since February "stopped and minimised" its supply of weapons to opposition groups.
"On the other hand, the regime is continuing to receive supply from its allies, and that is what is changing the equation right now, and we hope that we can do something to protect them," Al-Thani said.
"We are very much concerned that the international community doesn't have a Plan B for the Syrian conflict and the bombing and the shelling of the Syrians will continue. We need to act very fast to protect the Syrian people."