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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid