Documents obtained by Zaman al-Wasl showed that Bashar Assad’s authorities have agreed to arm Syrian businessmen, especially in the embattled city of Aleppo over security precautions.
Activists said that most merchants in Syria's commercial capital had build up strong ties with Assad’s regime, and many of them have been supporting the army and Shiite militants financially.
The documents are dated 27 March, 2012 and issued by the Aleppo Commerce Chamber.
Syria's nearly three-year conflict began as popular protests against four decades of Assad family rule but changed into an armed insurgency following a crackdown by the security forces.
More than 140,000 people have been killed and over 6 million – more than a quarter of the population – forced to flee their homes.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer