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Syria slams Arab League for giving seat to rebels

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Damascus on Monday slammed the Arab League over its decision to hand Syria's seat at the organisation to opposition forces, saying it had rewarded "bandits" and "thugs".

"The League has handed Syria's stolen seat to bandits and thugs, to the (opposition) Coalition which thinks it can sit in the name of the Syrian people," the official Al-Thawra newspaper said.

"They have forgotten that it is the people who grant the powers and not the emirs of obscurantism and sand," the paper added, in an apparent reference to key opposition supporters Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The Arab League summit opening Tuesday in Doha "will take place under Qatari supervision with the main goal to finish off Syria. They forget... that the Arabs, without Syria, would not be real Arabs," the paper said.

Syrian state television station Al-Ikhbariya added in the same vein that "the drums of treason echo in Doha."

"Qatar wants to bypass the rules of the Arab League by giving the seat of a founding member of the League to a coalition that obeys only the money and fuel of the Gulf and submits to American dictates," the station said.

The official Tishreen newspaper described Qatar as "an Israeli dagger planted in the heart of the Arab world."

A high-ranking member of the Arab League, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Monday that Syria's seat would be handed to the opposition, a decision hailed by the rebel Syrian National Coalition

The Arab League on March 6 called on the coalition "to form an executive body to take up Syria's seat" and attend the summit, although Iraq and Algeria have expressed reservations, while Lebanon has distanced itself from the decision.

Since then, the coalition has elected a prime minister who is set to choose an interim government.

The League announced on November 12, 2011 that it was suspending Syria after its regime failed to implement an Arab deal to end violence against protesters.

The move came after the regime of President Bashar al-Assad launched a bloody crackdown on dissent which has since morphed into a civil war in which more than 70,000 people have so far died, according to UN figures.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130325/syria-slams-arab-league-giving-seat-rebels