Yu Zhixiao> Arming Syrian Opposition May Lead To Bloody Civil War

Arming Syrian Opposition May Lead To Bloody Civil War

ByYu Zhixiao   February 24, 2012     Xinhua News Agency

 BEIJING: The two-day Friends of Syria Conference, aimed at rallying  support for the Syrian opposition, starts in Tunis on Friday, and  outsiders will be watching closely whether it will grant essential  backing such as arms to rebels in unrest-stricken Syria.  At this point, it should be reiterated that rashly arming the Syrian  opposition or forcing a so-called regime change is a risky and heavily  costly option, which may drag the Middle East country into a  full-blown bloody civil war.

The meeting, attended by senior diplomats from the Arab League,  Europe and the United States, certainly will ratchet up pressure on Syrian President Basharal-Assad, who has vowed to fight anti-government forces to the bitter end.

Western powers have vehemently demanded al-Assad’s departure, but  stopped short of announcing a military intervention at this stage.  However, they insist all options are still on the table.  The participants of the conference are expected to seek concrete  measures, such as calling for access for humanitarian aid to Syria’s  violence-hit regions and an arms embargo to add more pressure on Damascus.

But Syrian rebels have all along asked Western countries to arm them,  and it is still uncertain whether Friday’s conference will satisfy  their appetite.

It should be pointed out that the reckless supply of weapons to the  rebels is sure to bring a more violent reaction from Syrian government  troops and plunge the country into a full and devastating civil war,  which is not at all in the interests of Syrian civilians.

Before all hopes vanish, the international community should give  dialogue a chance.

Parties concerned shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that  President al-Assad is substantively responding to demands for domestic  reforms.

A referendum on a draft constitution on Sunday will allow Syrian  citizens to opt for new freedoms, end the monopoly on power of  al-Assad’s Baath Party and set a timetable for multiparty elections.  Under the new constitution, President al-Assad will end his second  seven-year term in 2014 at the latest and, with it, his family’s  40-odd years of control over the country.

Negotiations between pro- and anti-government camps are a recognition  of the strength of antagonistic factors in Syria, which obviously  can’t wipe out the other side easily, and will serve as a pragmatic  and feasible way to strike a peace deal and curb more bloodshed.  At any time, military methods should be the last option.

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