Asia

‘Friends of Syria’ to ramp up support for militants

British foreign-sectaryBritish Foreign Secretary William Hague says the representatives of 11 Arab and Western countries plus Turkey have agreed to “ramp up” support for militants in Syria.

“We’ve also agreed unanimously to take further steps together through a coordinated strategy to increase our support for … armed groups,” Hague said at the end of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting in London on Thursday.

Hague added that London has decided to upgrade the diplomatic status of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to a foreign mission in the UK.

The United States made the same decision last week, as another move to formalize the existing relationship between Washington and the SNC.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Damascus of using Chlorine gas against its people in recent months.

Kerry said, however, that the data has yet to be verified.

The US official also slammed the upcoming presidential election in Syria.

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Ja’afari, rejected the allegation that the chlorine gas has been used by government forces.

Ja’afari reiterated that the enemies of Syria will spare no efforts to overshadow preparations for the country’s upcoming presidential election, which is set for June.

The so-called Friends of Syria group is made up of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. According to some reports, over 150,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

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