Foreign ministers from 60 countries including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday attended a conference in Turkey to devise a viable strategy to resolve the Syrian crisis. The conference was held under the title of "Friends of Syria." The Arab nation pledged to pay $100 million to the Syrian rebels.
During the conference, Hillary Clinton promised to provide communications equipment to the opposition fighters; so that they could evade attacks from security forces loyal to the regime and organize them in a better way.
The ragtag Syrian opposition – Syrian National Council – has been struggling for the past some time to bring all the opposition factions under a single banner, but has failed so far. The Gulf countries now pledged to pay salaries to the opposition fighters – Free Syrian Army; so that they could bear expenses of their families. The move is also aimed at encouraging defection of soldiers from the national army because the movement against Bashar al-Assad can only succeed if defection from the national army takes place in a large number.
The participants of the conference agreed that efforts by UN-Arab League special envoy to Syriahad failed to bring peace and normalcy to Syria. Assad accepted a six-point peace plan presented by Annan last week and promised to restore peace in the country by stopping attacks on pro-democracy people. Hillary informed the conference that the dictator had defied the peace plan proposed by Annan, as security forces loyal to the regime were still targeting innocent civilians in different cities and provinces of the country.
Idlib and Aleppo provinces of Syria are still under attack even after Assad publicly accepted Annan’s peace plan. As per the plan, the dictator has to remove security forces from cities to end violence against civilians and subsequently initiate a dialogue with the opposition to ensure peaceful transition. Violence and attacks on civilians still continue and human rights activists working in the violence-wracked country say that more than 9,000 civilians have been killed so far by security forces loyal to the regime. The dictator believes that uprising against his rule can be stemmed through violence and intimidation against people demanding civil liberties and political reforms in the country.
However, the international community still remains divisive on suggestion of Saudi Arabia and a few other Gulf countries to arm the opposition fighters. The United States believe that the opposition fighters should be first organized and trained and in the second phase, they be provided with arms to wage a proxy war against the government soldiers and supporters of the dictator including Russia and Iran. The Obama administration believes the dictator can be toppled through diplomatic means and funding the opposition fighters. We hope Assad learns a lesson from the fate of Hosni Mubarak, Col. Qaddafi and Ben Ali.