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Wed 21 Sep 2016 09:55 AM

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Qatar's Sheikh Tamim criticises Obama's policy on Syria

UAE said it continues to be concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Syria

Qatar's Sheikh Tamim criticises Obama's policy on Syria
Qatars Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar's emir criticised US President Barack Obama's policy on Syria on Tuesday, highlighting the growing frustration among US allies at what they perceive to be Washington's lacklustre action towards the protracted civil war.

Qatar, home to a US base, is a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, like the United States, has supported rebels seeking to topple Assad.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, criticised Obama's so-called "red line" on Syria.

In August 2013, Obama abruptly cancelled plans for US air strikes that he had vowed to order if Assad's forces crossed a "red line" and used chemical weapons. Nine days earlier, a Sarin gas attack killed as many as 1,400 Syrians.

"Red lines were set for the regime who has violated them, yet those who demarcated those lines have not felt provoked to raise a finger," Tamim said according to an English transcript of his prepared remarks.

"The red line continued to be shifted until the regime became aware of the fact that there is no ceiling for what it could perpetrate without accountability," Tamim said.

Obama's Syria policy has been predicated on the goal of avoiding deeper military entanglements in the chaotic Middle East. Critics accuse Obama of being hesitant and risk averse. Obama's limited intervention has focused on fighting Islamic State militants who control a swath of Syria and Iraq and which has inspired attacks in the United States.

Meanwhile, the UAE said it continues to be concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Syria, including the breakdown in diplomatic initiatives and the absence of a foreseeable solution to the situation, according to news agency WAM.

Addressing an interactive dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic at the Human Rights Council this week, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE's Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva, also expressed concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in many besieged Syrian cities.

"Despite the glimmer of hope, witnessed from time to time, the security situation is deteriorating due to the indiscriminate attacks by the Syrian regime and its militias on vital sectors like hospitals, clinics and schools, as well as forced displacement of citizens, forced disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention and other violent acts," he added.

Al Zaabi renewed UAE's condemnation of these violations and the violations committee by extremist groups like ISIL terrorist group.

He expressed UAE's support to all initiatives calling for a halt to military operations and allowing delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens.

"To date, the United Arab Emirates had provided more than $600 million, or 0.15 percent of its Gross National Income, as direct aid to Syria and more than $2 billion to Syria's neighbouring countries," he said.

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