Venezuelan Arab Federation Criticizes Qatari Emir’s Visit to Caracas
The Federation of Arab Associations of Venezuela in a statement strongly criticized the recent visit of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Caracas due to Doha’s support for terrorists fighting against the Syrian government.
“This federation condemns the presence of Qatari emir on the land of Simon Bolivar (the Venezuelan revolutionary leader) because his regime has killed our brothers and families in Syria,” part of the federation’s statement said.
Adel El Zabayar, the federation’s president who is Syrian himself, said that the federation’s members are concerned about the Qatari emir’s presence in Venezuela because Doha helps the Syrian terrorists both financially and logistically.
The Syrian-born Venezuelan parliamentarian urged his government to reconsider its policies towards Qatar.
He noted that Qatar alongside Saudi Arabia and Turkey help the Takfiri terrorists in Syria.
The Qatari emir arrived in Caracas on Friday and was welcomed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Both Venezuela and Qatar are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In November, a Reuters report said that at a desert base, Qatar was covertly training Syrian rebels with US help to fight President Bashar al-Assad.
The camp, South of the capital between Saudi Arabia’s border and Al Udeid, the largest US air base in the Middle East, was being used to train the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebels, the sources said.
Reuters could not independently identify the participants in the program or witness activity inside the base, which lies in a military zone guarded by Qatari special forces and marked on signposts as a restricted area.
But Syrian rebel sources said training in Qatar has included rebels affiliated to the so-called “Free Syrian Army” from Northern Syria.
The sources said the effort had been running for nearly a year, although it was too small to have a significant impact on the battlefield.
“The US wanted to help the rebels oust Assad but didn’t want to be open about their support, so to have rebels trained in Qatar is a good idea, the problem is the scale is too small,” said a western source in Doha.
The CIA declined to comment, as did Qatar’s foreign ministry and an FSA spokesman in Turkey.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 210,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.
Over 3.8 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. According to reports, more than seven million Syrians have become internally displaced.