News / Europe

Russia Blames 'Both Sides' for Syria Massacre

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (l) and his British counterpart William Hague walk to a press conference after their meeting in Moscow, May 28, 2012 (AP).Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (l) and his British counterpart William Hague walk to a press conference after their meeting in Moscow, May 28, 2012 (AP).
x
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (l) and his British counterpart William Hague walk to a press conference after their meeting in Moscow, May 28, 2012 (AP).
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (l) and his British counterpart William Hague walk to a press conference after their meeting in Moscow, May 28, 2012 (AP).
MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is blaming both sides in Syria's conflict for civilian deaths that have drawn international condemnation.  

Following talks with his British counterpart,  Lavrov said both the rebels and the Syrian government were responsible for the massacre of more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla on Friday.

He downplayed what has been Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He says that for Russia, it is completely unimportant who is in power in Syria.  He says the most important thing for Russia is to support, above all else, an end to the violence, an end to the deaths of people who are mostly civilians, and to support political dialogue where the Syrians themselves decide the destiny of their country.  

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague, however, blamed Syria’s government for the Houla deaths, which included many children.

"It is part of the pattern of behavior of the Assad regime, I believe, to commit atrocities and then to try to blame those atrocities on other people," said Hague. "So we must always have our eyes open to that, difficult as it will be, to determine what has happened in any individual incident."

But Lavrov says guilt for the attacks "should be determined objectively."

Both Russia and Britain say more should be done to implement United Nations Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan that calls for a cessation of violence from both sides.

"If we all honestly want to help fulfill the Kofi Annan plan, we need to push all players inside Syria, without exception, who are standing with weapons in their hands facing each other," said Lavrov.

Lavrov added that nothing will come of conditions that demand regime change.  But he said "We do not support the Syrian government, we support Kofi Annan's plan."

Hague said the Annan peace plan is the only way to resolve the conflict.

"The alternatives in Syria are the Annan plan or the Assad regime retaking control of the country," he said. "The alternatives are the Annan plan or ever-increasing chaos in Syria and a descent closer and closer to all-out civil war and collapse."

Annan’s six-week old initiative has failed to stop the violence.  Meanwhile, the United Nations is nearing full deployment of a 300-member unarmed observer force to monitor compliance.  Annan is expected to meet with the Syrian president on Tuesday.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid