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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Russia Warns Against Arming Rebels im Syria

Russia has warned Western and Arab nations against arming Syrian rebels as it stepped up its backing of President Bashar al Assad's regime.

Speaking amid reports of more deaths in the country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said such measures were doomed to failure and would merely lead to years of bloodshed.

He said the Friends of Syria group of Western and Arab countries was undermining international envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to end more than a year of violence.

"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," he was quoted as saying.

"Everyone has supported Kofi Annan's plan but decisions at the Friends of Syria group meeting aimed at arming the opposition and at new sanctions undermine peace efforts."

Members of the Friends of Syria group had said after a meeting on Sunday that they would consider further "measures with a view to the protection of the Syrian people".

The group has not mentioned arming the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), as advocated by some Gulf Arab states, but hardline Gulf states may interpret the phrase as a licence to fund, if not arm, the FSA. Read More