Reuters reports: Confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is creating unease among Syrian rebels who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple the Iran-backed president. The Gulf support has however been far from harmonious, fuelling splits that have set back the revolt.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar a week ago, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies.
It is the biggest rift among Gulf Arab states in years.
“God forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict … the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other,” said Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria.
“We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear.”
The Syrian rebellion can ill afford more internal conflict. [Continue reading…]