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Saudi-Qatar crisis puts Syria rebels intricky position

18 Jun,2017

A diplomatic crisis pitting Saudi Arabia against Qatar has put Syrian rebels in a difficult position, analysts say, after rivalries between Gulf backers had already weakened the opposition.Both Sunni-ruled monarchies sided with the protesters in March 2011, when the war started with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations.They continued supporting the mostly Sunni rebels when unrest spiralled into conflict between the armed opposition and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who hails from the country’s Alawite Shiite minority and is backed by Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran.But six years later, the rebellion has been plagued by rivalries between Riyadh and Doha, as well as weakened by Russia’s military intervention in support of Assad’s forces.

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