Russian arms accused of ‘escalating conflict’ Syria
Tamil Guardian 13 June 2012
The United States has charged Russia with continuing to supply weapons to the Syrian government which have been used in the country’s ongoing conflict, with more weapons set to be delivered.
Speaking on information that a shipment of attack helicopters are being sent from Russia to Syria, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said,
"We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria.”
“They have from time to time said that we shouldn't worry, everything they're shipping is unrelated to [Syrian] actions internally. That's patently untrue and we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”
Her comments come as Hervé Ladsous, the head of UN peacekeeping operations, stated that the conflict was now becoming “large scale”, telling reporters,
“Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory in several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas”
“Now we have confirmed reports not only of the use of tanks and artillery but also attack helicopters.”
Russia meanwhile defended the sales, stating that the Russian export firm Rosoboronexport "does not supply weapons and military technology in contradiction with UN Security Council security requirements and other international agreements."
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stated last month that "it would be wrong to leave the Syrian government without the means for self-defence", and insisted that weapons would continue to be sold to Syria, with contracts currently worth around $1billion per year.
A press workshop in Colombo for Tamil journalists was disrupted today after protesters gathered outside Sri Lanka's Press Institute, where the workshop was to take place, the journalist Dushyanthini reports.
The Sri Lankan security forces stopped and interrogated a group of 11 Tamil journalists travelling from Jaffna by road to a press workshop in Colombo on Friday evening for over six hours,
The 157 Tamil asylum seekers, who had been drifting in the ocean off the coast of Christmas Island for four weeks, are to be transferred to an immigration centre on mainland Australia on Saturday, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.