Egypt Cuts All Ties With Syria
Speaking at a conference on the Syrian uprising in Cairo on Saturday, President Mohamed Morsi announced that Egypt will be cutting all ties with Syria. He ordered the Syrian embassies in Damascus and Cairo to be closed, and called for imposition of no-fly zone.
Morsi also said Egypt will begin providing Syrian opposition forces with financial aid and support for the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah would end. This is a policy shift for Morsi which backed the organization against Israel in the Second Lebanon War seven years ago.
Morsi said “We supported Hezbollah during Lebanon war and today we stand against Hezbollah in its aggression on Syria. There will be no role for the current Syrian regime and the terror group in Syria’s future.” He also called on Hezbollah to leave Syria, where the group has been fighting alongside regime forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
He said Egypt would coordinate the aid for the rebels monetarily through Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well as other countries. He did not say whether the aid would include arms.
The Egyptian president also called on the international community to execute a no-fly zone over Syria, where the UN says that more than 93,000 people have been killed since a popular uprising escalated into civil war more than two years ago.
On Thursday, a senior official in Egypt’s presidency had said Egyptians were free to join the fight in Syria and would not be prosecuted if they return.
Russia, an ally of Assad and fierce opponent of outside military intervention in Syria, said any attempt to impose a no-fly zone using F-16 fighter jets and Patriots based in Jordan would be illegal.
According to Reuters report, Mursi, who faces growing discontent at home over the economy and over fears that he will pursue an Islamist social agenda, said he was organising an urgent summit of Arab and other Islamic states to discuss the situation in Syria, where the United States has in recent days decided to take steps to arm the rebels.
Syria’s relations with Arab nations have progressively worsened as the violence in the country spiraled out of control.
In March, the Arab League granted the Damascus seat to Assad’s opposition at the 24th summit.
The 22-member bloc suspended Syria’s seat in November 2011, following the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators in the country.
That same month, the Syrian opposition opened its first embassy in Doha, Qatar.