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Qatar will help Syrian rebels even if Trump ends US role

Qatar is a top backer of rebels fighting Assad, working alongside Western nations in a military aid program overseen by the US CIA

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Qatar will continue to arm Syrian rebels even if Donald Trump ends US backing for the multinational effort, Doha’s foreign minister said in an interview, signaling its determination to pursue a policy the US President-elect may abandon.

But Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the wealthy Gulf state would not “go solo” and supply shoulder-fired missiles to the rebels to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes.

While the rebels needed more military support, any move to supply “Manpad” anti-aircraft weapons to them would have to be decided collectively by the rebels’ backers, the minister, a member of Qatar’s royal family, told Reuters late on Saturday.

Qatar is a top backer of rebels fighting Assad, working alongside Western nations in a military aid program overseen by the US Central Intelligence Agency that provides moderate groups with arms and training.

Qatar was determined to carry on, Sheikh Mohammed said, sipping tea in his spacious office on the ministry’s top floor overlooking the Gulf.

“This support is going to continue, we are not going to stop it. It doesn’t mean that if Aleppo falls we will give up on the demands of the Syrian people,” he said.