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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs