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.
The US embassy in Colombo has expressed “grave concern” about the intimidation by Sri Lankan security forces of journalists, covering the court proceedings related to the rape of an 11-year old Tamil school girl in Jaffna.
Only an ‘impartial independent international investigation can establish truth and serve justice,’ said the Global Tamil Forum spokesperson, rejecting the recently announced Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it remained sceptical over the government's Missing Persons Commission, despite the government's attempts to increase its credibility through reportedly widening the mandate and appointed three international experts.
Highlighting the government's previous high profile appointments that still failed to yield answers,
The spokesperson of Sri Lanka’s police force, Ajith Rohana has denied that a group of Tamil journalists travelling to a workshop in Colombo were detained and said that only their vehicle was taken into custody.