Photo: AP via Sana News Agency
Russia has warned Western and Arab nations against arming the Syrian rebels, saying it would only make the situation worse.”It is clear as day that even if the opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not defeat the Syrian army, and there will simply be slaughter and mutual destruction for long, long years,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to RT.
Lavrov added the Friends of Syria group of Western and Arab nations was undermining Kofi Annan’s efforts to end the crisis. He emphasised that Annan’s path was the only way forward, as Friends of Syria, which the Kremlin has refused to join, was biased towards the rebels, Reuters reports. A UN recon team is due in Syria in 48 hours to monitor the implementation of Annan’s plan.
While Syrian President Bashar Assad has agreed to Annan’s plan of a ceasefire from April 10, there are reports that he is not keeping his word. “From the Turkish border in the northeast to Deraa in the south, the military operations continue,” Rami Abdel Rahman, president of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Syrian paper al-Bawaba. The UN estimates 9,000 have been killed in the last year.
Neither the U.S. nor most Arab countries believe Assad will end the fighting. The Gulf states have gone a step further and decided to pay the “salaries” of the rebels, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the first formal international support for the rebels, the BBC reports.
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