Brussels: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for "a peaceful and political solution" to the Syrian crisis and warned against providing weapons to Syrian rebels."I don't think the right way forward would be to provide any group with weapons. There is a clear risk that the provision of arms to any group in Syria would also lead to a potentially dangerous proliferation of weapons in the region," Rasmussen said.

"I do hope a political and diplomatic solution can be found on the basis of the work that has now started under the leadership of the UN special envoy Kofi Annan," he said. The remarks came amid reports that some Arab countries were considering arming Syrian rebel fighters. The NATO chief also stressed that the alliance had "no intention" to intervene in Syria, but nevertheless it was monitoring the situation closely.

Syria has been the scene of anti-government protests for nearly a year. According to the UN, more than 9,000 people have died in the unrest.