A good summary of the rebels’ conditions for Geneva came in a telephone interview Monday with Gen. Salim Idriss, the commander of the rebels’ Supreme Military Council. He spoke from Jordan, where his forces had just received a new shipment of 35 tons of weapons from Saudi Arabia; Idriss said these weapons will help, but they aren’t advanced enough to combat Assad’s tanks and planes in Qusair.
Idriss said he would not attend the Geneva talks unless the United States and its allies establish “military balance” by giving him modern anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. “It’s not valuable to go to negotiations when we are weak on the ground,” he said.
Rebel forces are chronically short of ammunition, Idriss said. According to one rebel source, he has privately asked the United States for 700 tons of ammunition each week over the next month to help strengthen the rebels’ hand and provide leverage before Geneva.