Syria opposition urges ‘surgical strikes’ on Assad missiles

Head of Free Syrian Army Selim Idriss arrives at the Friends of Syria meeting on April 20, 2013 in Istanbul. (AFP)

Syria’s opposition on Saturday called on international supporters to carry out “surgical strikes” on positions used by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to fire missiles on civilians.

Voicing frustration at the lack of a strong international response to Syria’s crisis, the Syrian National Coalition urged Western and Arab countries gathered for a “Friends of Syria” meeting to take immediate action.

“It is the moral imperative of the international community, led by the Friends of Syria, to take specific, precise and immediate action to protect Syrian civilians from the use of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons,” the Coalition said in a statement.

It called for “surgical strikes of launching locations by unmanned aerial vehicles”.

The 11-nation core group of the Friends of Syria -- including the United States, European nations and Arab countries -- was holding talks and meeting with the opposition in Istanbul late Saturday.

Washington is expected to announce more support for the opposition after the talks, including for the first time provisions of non-offensive military equipment, but not the arms the rebels are demanding.

Yaser Tabbara, a spokesman for the opposition’s interim Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto, said new pledges of aid were not enough.

“Assad is firing missiles against densely populated areas... without consequences. Throwing money at the problem won’t solve it,” he said.

The Coalition statement also called for the enforcement of a no-fly zone along Syria’s northern and southern borders, an international fund to support the opposition and a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the use of “ballistic and chemical weapons against civilians”.

A senior U.S. official said Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating accounts from European allies that Syria has used chemical weapons in the conflict.

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Last Update: 21:14 KSA 00:14 - GMT 21:14
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