Arms supplies to Syrian opposition call for legal evaluation – Russia

3 March 2012 — Voice of Russia

An armed antigovernment mutiny has been crushed in the Syrian city of Homs. More than 100 mercenaries have been seized. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has admitted that supplying arms to Syrian rebels is in no way contributing to a settlement in Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry has, for its part, urged the United Nations to give a legal assessment to statements by officials from different countries, insisting that the Syrian opposition fighters should continue to be armed.

According to Lebanon’s television channel Orange TV, the residents of Homs are aiding the government troops by showing the rebels’ hideouts. More than 600 armed militants have surrendered to Syrian Army soldiers as a result. The situation in Homs is now growing back to normal, with the soldiers handing out food to the population and providing medical assistance for the wounded. A humanitarian convoy of the International Red Cross has brought foodstuffs, potable water and medicines to Homs. The fact that Damascus has regained control over Homs proves that the Syrian government does have the potential for putting an end to the mutiny, says an expert with the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Azhdar Kurtov, and elaborates.

“This is a major success, Azhdar Kurtov says, because Homs has been the rebels’ stronghold throughout the past six months. There was a real threat that a certain enclave would be set up in the city that would ignore the central government and form its own government of supporters of the armed opposition. The threat has since been removed. But it would be premature to claim, on the other hand, that the capture of Homs amounts to a U-turn in Syria’s civil war.”

The opposition Free Syrian Army has openly admitted that France and the United States have been supplying them with arms and air defence systems. Professional mercenaries are fighting on the side of the opposition, – Afghans, Libyans, Turks, Jordanians. This is what a prominent Arab military expert, Amin Khteit, said about the situation in Syria, in a comment.

“Over 30,000 various weapons have been channelled to Syria since unrest flared up there in April last year, Amin Khteit says. The overall amount of explosives makes up 300 tons. The deliveries were made by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They depend on the United States, which is making every effort to overpower Syria.”

Meanwhile, Russian expert in oriental studies of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Analysis, Sergei Demidenko, warns that escalation of external interference in Syria’s affairs will explode the entire region.

“Destabilizing Syria amounts to destabilizing the entire Arab East, Sergei Demidenko says. Invasion of Syria will detonate Lebanon, Central Iraq, and then Jordan in all probability. Therefore one should not interfere in Syria, as the West and some Arab countries did in Libya and Iraq. The situation is highly explosive, including for Israel, because it is there that the foam from the Syrian “caldron”, as it were, will flow to.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the UN agencies should give a legal assessment to pronouncements by officials from different countries urging that the Syrian opposition fighting units should be armed. But Moscow pointed out that a UN Security Council resolution bans support for Al-Qaeda and the groups that are involved with it. Meanwhile the fact that Al-Qaeda militants form part of the Syrian opposition armed units has been proved. Therefore, it stands to reason to ask just how Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Faisal’s statement that to arm the Syrian opposition is a remarkable idea agrees with that fact.

Arming the opposition is no solution to the Syrian crisis, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted when addressing the General Assembly meeting on Friday. He urged the world community to bend every effort to settle the problem diplomatically.


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