News / Middle East

Russia 'Never Supported' Syrian Government

VOA News
Russia says it "never supported" the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Monday in Moscow that Russia does not support one side in the Syrian conflict over another, and criticized what he said were other countries misrepresenting Russia's policies.

"We were never enchanted with this regime. And we never supported it," he said. "And all of our actions, aimed at helping to fulfill the Geneva agreement to form the transitional body, only confirm that we want the situation to stabilize, and the creation of the conditions that Syrians can themselves decide their fate - of their own people, their own state, their own leadership."

His comments come a day after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Assad made a potentially "fatal" error by delaying democratic reforms demanded by Syria's opposition.  He said Assad should have acted much faster to reach out to moderate opponents, and that he believes the president's chances of remaining in power are getting smaller each day.

Russia has been a longtime supplier of weapons to the ruling Assad family and has vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have condemned him for trying to crush what began as a peaceful pro-democracy uprising.

Also Monday, Syrian opposition members met with representatives from friendly countries in Paris, where French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for giving the opposition the means to defend itself and support its political aims.

"What we all want is that Syria can free itself. And we want to avoid what we call chaos. If we don't give the means to the Syrian people to go right to the end of its liberation, we all know that there is a risk that the massacres will increase, that antagonisms will develop," said Fabius. "That extremism and terrorism will prevail. We want to fight those."

Syrian state media said Sunday the government's top judicial council has suspended legal action against exiled opposition figures, to allow them to return home for a national dialogue proposed by President Assad earlier this month. However, Syria's exiled opposition coalition has consistently refused to deal with Assad, saying he must leave power before any peace talks can begin.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos was in Damascus on Sunday to learn more about the suffering caused by the conflict, which she has described as "catastrophic."

The U.N. is to hold a donor conference in Kuwait Wednesday, to raise funds for Syria's humanitarian crisis.

The rebellion has evolved into civil war in which majority Sunni rebels and Islamist militants have been fighting to end the 12-year rule of Assad, a minority Alawite.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began with pro-democracy protests in March 2011, before evolving into a civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
January 30, 2013 12:52 PM
Militarily Russia absolutely has. Most of the civilians killed were killed by Russian weapons / bullets / bombs.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 28, 2013 5:36 PM
Russia is the most important supporter of the dictator Bashar al-Assad because:
(1) supplies most of the military weapons to Assad,
(2) maintain a naval base at Tartus on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, the only year round deep water port of Russia outside Russia,
(3) recently conducted a massive naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea close to the Tartus naval base to show support for Assad,
(4) vetoed the UN resolution in the Security Council condemning Assad, and
(5) claimed neutrality in the Syrian conflict, indirectly helping Assad.

Recently, the Russian tune is changing:
(1) supported the UN resolution refering the human rights violations during the Syrian conflict to the international court,
(2) Russia slowly started evacuating Russian citizens from Syria,
(3) Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced that Assad made the fatal error of delaying democratic changes in Syria,
(4) Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrow told that Russia never supported Assad and Russians are never enchanted with the Assad regime.

These mixed signals from Russia are not enough. If Russia is sincere in their actions and anouncements, Russia should
(1) support an international force to get rid of Assad,
(2) stop all military supplies to Assad,
(3) offer humanitarian aid to the refugees from Syria in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, and
(4) offer humanitarian help to the internally displaced persons in Syria.

Even China has offered modest humanitarian help to the Syrian refugees. But for Russia, about 65,000 Syrians died, much more maimed and hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced in Syria and much more refugees in the neighboring countries are not enough for Putin to come clean in Syrian conflict.

by: Anonymous
January 28, 2013 12:02 PM
But Bashar al Assad is a criminal that has killed thousands of innocent Syrian Civilians. Last I checked the Russians were not letting anyone take out Bashar for his crimes against the Nation. It is inevitable that Bashar will fall anyways (and likely be killed by his own people. ) So the west could of taken out Bashar over a year ago and saved tens of thousands of lives, but Russia didn't want that. Russia would rather the people suffer than to disrupt their arms deals. Russian gov, are criminals (Well Putin anyways).

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 28, 2013 9:47 AM
Russia says it "never supported" the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The bullets/rockets/bombs were made/delivered by airplanes/helicopters made in another world, not in Russia?. The 60,000 dead and the 4,000,000 starving, will certainly take note of this communist era type of lie. How can a person have such low morals to make such blatantly false statements.
Russia and China are still preventing the setting of humanitarian corridors and distribution centres for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Syrian civilian population. The Syrian civilians are facing a catastrophic sit, essentially genocide, by refusing to allow, under UN mandate, for international forces to set up and patrol the humanitarian effort, Russia and China are directly responsible for this international humanitarian failure at the UNSC.

by: Paris Tun from: Myanmar
January 28, 2013 8:47 AM
At the end of the day, it seems like , nobody wants to have anything to do with bloody Assad. One day ago, Russia prides itself on being the staunchest ally of sick dictator, like Assad or Than Shwe(Burma's world famous dictator). Now they say, they didn't support those dictator. Perhaps, the Russians don't want the blood of Syrians' people fall on their head. At least, they now know, it is shameless and evil thing to feed those sick dictators. Thank God!
If the Russians are honest, they will confess that they made a very bad judgement and feel ashamed of themselves in stead of denying connection with Assad.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs