Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appealed to the leaders of a five-nation economic forum meeting in South Africa to help end his country’s two-year conflict, Al Jazeera reports. The embattled and increasingly isolated president said on Wednesday that his country is being subjected to “acts of terrorism backed by Arab, regional and Western nations”, a reference to the Western-backed opposition fighting his regime. Assad’s appeal came in a letter sent to a forum of BRICS nations; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, whose leaders have gathered for a summit in Johannesburg. The president’s letter was published by Syria’s state media on Wednesday. It came a day after the Arab League allowed opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib to fill Syria’s vacant seat at the organisation’s annual summit in Doha, the Qatari capital.
Syrian government on Wednesday vetted its wrath at Qatar and the Arab League for handing its seat to the “deformed” Syrian National Coalition. The summit endorsed the provision of military aid to Syrian rebels. A communique affirmed member states had a right to offer assistance “including military, to support the steadfastness of the Syrian people and the Free Army”. However, “efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis are a priority,” it added. Khatib, the head of the Coalition, asked US Secretary of State John Kerry for American forces to help defend rebel-controlled northern parts of Syria with Patriot surface-to-air missiles based in Turkey. NATO swiftly rebuffed the idea.