Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 08:11
Untie Syrian knot
By China Daily

The crisis in Syria is worsening with every passing day, miring the country in bloodbaths and fueling widespread concern from the international community. But it is even more troubling to see that Western countries led by the United States are accelerating their efforts to aid the Syrian opposition in their bid to force a regime change in the country. 

After the European Union reversed its arms embargo policy to allow the arming of Syrian rebels, the US lifted its sanctions on the Syrian opposition last week and decided to provide lethal aid to Syria's rebels. Yet Washington's claim that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons, which it says crossed the line and is a game changer for the two-year-old crisis, is, at the very least, one-sided if proved true. 

With reports from the United Nations and some Western media showing the opposition forces have used chemical weapons, Washington's decision to send weapons to the rebels lacks solid ground. 

Especially as members of al-Qaida and other extremist groups have long penetrated into Syria and mingled with the rebel forces there, which is the very reason the West had adopted a comparatively cautious approach toward arming the opposition. 

The US and its Western allies cannot be so blind that they are unable to foresee the tricky situation that lies ahead when they set out to remove the last obstacle to arming the rebels, as some of the weapons they intend to provide will very likely end up in the wrong hands and help al-Qaida expand its influence in the war-torn country and even the region at large. 

There have been media reports about atrocities that some rebel forces have committed, which must have prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin's rebukes against arming "organ-eating fighters" when responding to the US decision. 

In their meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit on Monday, Putin and US President Barack Obama agreed to push for a summit in Geneva on Syria, despite admitting the big differences they have on Syria. 

The new Geneva summit should be held as soon as possible. At a time when the West is hastily paving the way for military intervention, it might be the last chance for the international community to conjure up political resolutions to end the crisis.