• Arab states free to offer Syria rebels military support-document

    CAIRO, March 6 (Reuters) Wed, 6 Mar 2013 16:27 GMT - Arab states are free to offer military support to rebels fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a draft Arab League resolution seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

    So far the League has stressed that the Syrian opposition and rebels should be supported by humanitarian and diplomatic means.

    Separately, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby told a news conference that League ministers meeting in Cairo had invited the opposition Syrian National Coalition to choose a representative to attend a League meeting to be held in Doha later this month.

    He said the Coalition would take the seat of Syria, which was occupied by Damascus until it was suspended from the organisation in 2011.

    (Reporting by Ayman Samir, Yasmine Saleh and Omar Fahmy; editing by David Stamp)
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Syria extends major offensive to retake territory in west

BEIRUT - Syrian troops and allied militia backed by a fresh wave of Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships attacked rebel forces on Thursday as the government extended an offensive to recapture territory in the west of the country.