RIYADH Dec 15 A senior Syrian opposition figure
called on Thursday for an increase in Gulf Arab military support
for armed rebels following the fall of the city of Aleppo to
government forces this week.
The loss of the rebels' last urban stronghold this week has
dealt a devastating blow to efforts to oust President Bashar
al-Assad, after nearly six years of a war that has claimed some
400,000 lives and left 11 million people homeless.
"The support has not changed," said Asaad al-Zoubi, chief
negotiator for the main opposition body, the High Negotiations
Council, who is based in Saudi Arabia.
"I would like and I request for there to be an increase in
support. The present situation requires additional support," he
told Reuters, citing a need for specialised weapons that the
United States has blocked Gulf partners from delivering.
The fall of Aleppo has also handed a major victory to Iran,
whom the rebels' Gulf Arab backers see as their main foe in the
battle for regional influence.
Another rebel backer, Turkey, has indicated that its support
for the rebel brigades is far from over. It is redeploying
fighters from Aleppo to Syria's north to join a campaign to
drive Islamic State and Kurdish militia fighters away from the
(Reporting by Katie Paul)