December 12, 2012 / 1:05 PM / 5 years ago

Qatar calls for support to Syria rebel fighters

MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Qatar said on Wednesday Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad were on the verge of victory and said the world had a duty to support them.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Morocco that Assad’s rule was finished after the 20-month-old uprising which has brought rebel fighters to the edge of Damascus.

“This meeting has exceptional significance. It is taking place at a time when the Syrian people are about to complete their victory and achieve their legitimate aspirations for which they have sacrificed their blood and souls,” Sheikh Hamad said.

“Our humanitarian and moral duty calls on us to provide support through legitimate means to those who are fighting against oppression and for freedom,” Sheikh Hamad said.

He also called for assistance to ordinary Syrians, including refugees he said were living under appalling conditions as winter sets in, and proposed a donors’ meeting.

Speaking at the same opening session of the talks, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Feisal said his country was donating $100 million in humanitarian aid.

Sheikh Hamad said Assad’s rule was “effectively over”.

“The opposition forces are expanding their control and the authority of the regime is eroding. It (has to rely on) planes to strike at civilians, and schools,” he said.

Sheikh Hamad urged the U.N. Security Council to impose a ceasefire and provide for a transition of power.

“There is no chance left for any dialogue with a regime which has lost its legitimacy. The next stage should provide for national unity government” inclusive of Syria’s minorities and sects, he said.

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