News24

Russia won't intervene militarily in Syria

2012-03-14 22:40

Moscow - Russia is providing Syria with weapons to fend off external threats but has no intention to use military force to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Russian foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Sergey Lavrov said that Russia isn't supplying any arms that could be used against protesters, and issued a moderate criticism of Assad for being slow to conduct vital reforms.

"We are selling weapons to Syria for its national defence, national security," Lavrov told lawmakers in the lower house of Russian parliament.

"We aren't providing Syria with any weapons that could be used against protesters, against peaceful citizens, helping fuel the conflict. We aren't doing that, we are only helping Syria to protect its security against external threats."

Moscow has protected Syria, its key ally since the Soviet times, from UN sanctions over the Assad regime's bloody suppression of a yearlong uprising, in which the UN says over 7 500 have been killed.

It also backs Assad's claim that the uprising is a foreign conspiracy, saying that weapons and militants had flown into Syria from abroad.

Russia has been the main supplier of arms for the Syrian military, which has relied almost exclusively on Soviet and Russian-made weapons, from assault rifles to tanks to aircraft and missiles.

Lavrov insisted that Moscow's stance was rooted in respect for the international law, not a desire to defend its client.

"We aren't standing up for the regime or specific personalities, we are defending the international law that demands that internal conflicts are settled without foreign interference," Lavrov told the parliament.

Slow to change

Moscow has vowed to block any UN resolution that could pave the way for a replay of what happened in Libya, where Nato action helped oust Muammar Gaddafi. It has accused the West of fuelling the Syrian conflict by backing the opposition and failing to demand that its forces pull out from besieged cities along with government troops.

Lavrov said that Moscow has been working on "daily basis" with the Syrian government to urge it to take "steps that would calm the situation." He said that other nations should use their ties to the opposition to help end violence.

Showing a degree of irritation with Assad, Lavrov said that the Syrian leader hasn't always listened to the Russian advice and has been slow to conduct long-overdue reforms.

"Regrettably, he hasn't always followed our advice in his activities," Lavrov said. "He has approved useful laws reviving the system and making it more pluralistic. But it has been done after a long delay, and the proposals about launching a dialogue also have been slow to come. Meanwhile, the armed confrontation is expanding and its inertia may sweep and engulf all."

Lavrov warned that the Syrian conflict may escalate into a broader confrontation between the Sunnis and the Shiites across the Middle East. "It may end in a big explosion, involving Iraq and Iran," he said.

Syria, where the Sunni majority makes up the backbone of the uprising, has a fragile mix of ethnic and religious groups including Shi'ites, Christians and Shi'ite offshoot Alawites, a sect to which Assad and the ruling elite belong.

The Sunni monarchies in the Gulf have strongly backed the uprising, in an apparent hope to curtail the influence of Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

"It's a very fragile state, and if the current structure is removed the entire pyramid will collapse," Lavrov said.

Comments
  • Sipho - 2012-03-14 23:19

    this is the only thing that seperates libya from syria! gadaffi was warned not to trust the west,especially the brits even after he compensated the victims families of lockerbie and made them rich! he was warned to buy his weapons from RUSSIA AND CHINA and he was also warned not to trust america and europe. it is being reported in france that sicko sarko took money 40 million euro's from gadaffi for his campaign in the year 2007,money that he now doesnt have to pay back!

      Anthony - 2012-03-15 03:17

      thatbrotherfullofhatred, I have tears in my eyes, that Russia wants to uphold International law. They are suchhhhh good people !!!! In the meantime, it is ludricous to say, that Russian tanks with their Russian "advisers" are not being used against the Syrian opposition. Also, that rockets being aimed at residential appartment blocks, have been supplied by Swaziland. It is also not true that the hundreds of thousands rounds of amunition, are being used to bake bread. Very likely, that 'snipers" on rooftops, who fire life amunition, at women and children, are being trained by Russian "advisers". The civil war in Syria, has been made possible, by Russia's export of military hardware and "advisers". Russia is up to its neck involved in this war. THEY should be held resonsible, for crimes against humanity. No wonder they don't recognize the ICC !!!!

      Smell - 2012-03-15 04:00

      So Sipho, are you suggesting you would be OK with Gadhaffi killing your children, brothers, sisters and parents as long as he pays you afterwards? How much is your children worth to you? You are an unbearable, first class idiot.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 01:03

      In the eyes of the foolish and ignorant

      Fred - 2012-03-16 05:45

      Sipho, clearly your measuring stick is not about peace and democracy. It's about arms and war.

  • Fidel - 2012-03-15 00:11

    Who'd had thought, and the Americans are still arming the Bahrain regime.

      Smell - 2012-03-15 04:02

      Last time I looked the Bahrain government had not killed 8,000 of their own citizens. I think you should change your name to Drivel, because you are definitely not in Mr. Castro's league.

      reesesm - 2012-03-15 06:03

      Fidel, do you live in Bahrain? Do you have any personal knowledge about Bahrain? I mean something real and not the crap you make up. Until you come and live in Bahrain and really know what is going on in Bahrain I suggest you close your trap.

      Garth - 2012-03-15 07:38

      Fido, what are you on about? `Who'd had thought, . . .,' definitely not you! Having your inane thoughts on the conflicts stuffed back up your nose by Russia's now blatant capitalism? So all your socialist anti-west rhetoric has come to nought by the actions of your failed-communist heroes? So now you look around for a new target, a new `western imperialist' puppet and shoot your barbs; but your eyes were closed again! And it is: `Who'd have . . ..' as in `Who would have . . ..'

      Fred - 2012-03-15 15:03

      Here's an article on Russia's relationship with the Syrian regime, and that's your thought? Fidel, you're as stubborn as stubborn can be, and truly have an OCD. What's more is the blood of Syrians is on your hands.

  • Fred - 2012-03-22 02:49

    Of course the rogue Russian regime won't intervene militarily in Syria. It's selling arms to Assad. And Alexander supports this.

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