Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Russia, China and Iran back Assad

Russia, China and Iran showed support for Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, on Monday, just days before an international meeting which is likely to put more pressure on him to step down amid an increasingly bloody uprising.

Mr Assad met a senior Russian politician in Damascus, who reiterated Moscow’s support for his reform programme and spoke out against any foreign intervention in the conflict, Russian and Syrian news agencies reported.

China accused western countries of stirring up civil war in Syria, and two Iranian warships docked at a Syrian naval base, underscoring rising international tensions over the near year-long crisis.

The ships, which docked at the port of Tartous on Saturday, were said to be providing training for Syrian naval forces, Iranian state TV reported.

With Iran already at odds with the US, Europe and Israel over its nuclear programme, the deployment was likely to add to western concerns that the Syria crisis could boil over into a regional conflict if it is not resolved soon. more