|August 5, 2012
British officials are secretly equipping Syrian rebel groups with satellite phones in a bid to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
The supply of the latest generation of handsets is part of the Foreign Office’s mission to mould militias into a coalition capable of governing the country. The phones, used by the Ministry of Defence, are designed for rugged environments and are shock, dust and water resistant.
Whitehall sources also confirmed the Foreign Office is teaching negotiation and ‘stabilisation’ skills to opposition leaders, and advising on how to address the Syrian people and international audiences.
The mission is complicated by the expansion of the conflict to all Syria’s major cities – from Aleppo in the north, to Homs in the centre, and the capital Damascus in the south.