As European nations consider lifting the arms embargo to the Syrian opposition, Iran, a traditional ally of Syria, warns that arming the rebels could further destabilize the region and increase the risks of terrorism.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said “Some countries envisage arming the opposition with heavy and semi-heavy weaponry,” Al Arabiya reported. He added "In reality, they seek to legitimize publicly what they have been doing in secret."
Salehi went on to warn that sending arms to the Syrian opposition would be “a clear interference in the affairs of an independent country. It will spread insecurity, the risk of terrorism and organized violence in all of the region.”
His warning came as European ministers are due to meet to discuss lifting the arms embargo to assist the Syrian opposition National Coalition to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said EU minsters would discuss "the future of the arms embargo. We have made no decision to change that so far."
France and Britain, the two European countries which led military intervention in Libya, look favourably upon the notion of providing arms. As Digital Journal reported Britain is already providing assassination squads to train the Syrian rebels. Syria has accused France,which has formally recognized the new Syrian National Coalition. of "acting like a hostile nation" Al Jazeera reported.
Both Russia and China remain opposed to providing arms to the Syrian opposition which has openly asked for more weapons.
Iran's warning has some basis as there are elements involved in the Syrian opposition that have links to international terrorism. Extreme Salafists, with links to al-Qaeda, are operating within Syria, along with Kosovo Albanians and Libyans linked to LIFG. Weapons used in the Libyan conflict have been smuggled into Syria.