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Articles about Islam and Islamization > EU Lifts Syria Embargo, Sparking Fears of Arms Race

EU Lifts Syria Embargo, Sparking Fears of Arms Race    Bookmark and Share  

The European Union's decision to lift its arms embargo on Syria is raising concerns about a new arms race in that country's civil war. And it has prompted a warning from Israel.

The U.S. and the EU have faced a dilemma over whether to arm the Syrian rebels, a conglomeration of different groups that include al Qaeda terrorists who hate the United States and the West.

On Monday, the European Union decided to end its ban on weapons for the rebels -- or more specifically, Britain and France together forced an end to the embargo, against the opposition of the other 25 members.

"The European Union has agreed to bring to end the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition and to maintain other sanctions on Syria," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

But Hague says the move does not mean weapons are on the way.

"We have no plans to send arms at the moment," he said.

But the rebels want the weapons now. There are reports that their stocks of guns and ammo are drying up. But it could be months before they see any.

Louary Safi of the Syrian National Council said delays in arms shipments "...will have a negative effect on stopping the aggression and killing in Syria on the part of the regime."

Russia criticized the EU decision and revealed that it will supply the Syrian government with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles. That prompted Israel to warn it would attack any such shipment.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent about two hours in Syria, crossing over the border from Turkey, and met with 10 to 15 rebel commanders. McCain favors providing arms to rebel forces in Syria and creation of a no-fly zone.


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