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Merkel warns against arming rebels

German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against shipping weapons to Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

The German leader told parliament she understands why Britain, France and the United States are considering arms deliveries to some rebel groups in Syria, who are facing strong resistance from Syrian government forces and its Hezbollah allies.

But Ms Merkel said that, in her view, "the risks would be incalculable".

She did not explain why but critics fear Western arms would only prolong the conflict without tipping the scales decisively.

And Western weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists who might eventually use them against Western interests.

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