Friday, November 18, 2011

Russian allies urge Syria to end deadly crackdown before full-scale 'civil war' breaks out - 17th Nov 2011

Syrian allies China and Russia expressed serious concern Thursday over the spiraling crisis in Syria and called for immediate talks as pressure mounted on President Bashar Assad to end the deadly crackdown on dissent.

Assad is facing severe international isolation stemming from his crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising, which the U.N. estimates has killed 3,500 people. The Arab League suspended Damascus on Wednesday and threatened economic sanctions if the violence continues.

China and Russia have kept up their long-standing ties with Damascus, however, in October they vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria.

But on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin appeared to suggest China might support a resolution in the future.

'It depends on whether these actions will help to resolve the tensions in Syria and facilitate the resolution of disputes through political dialogue,' he said.

He called on both sides in the conflict to work together. Later in the day, Russia urged Syria and the opposition to start talks.

'We think that it is necessary to start talks on the peaceful settlement in Syria by all parties,' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. He said the talks should be held at Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

The development came after the renegades who have taken on the Syrian forces were pictured for the first time.

Gripping AK-47s and with their faces covered, the troops made public a picture of themselves as they struggle against the government.

The hardened group of Arab fighters are believed to be army defectors who have this week turned the tide on president Bashar Assad. Read More