News / Middle East

Syria Conflict Exposes Old Rivalries at G8 Summit

Syria Conflict Exposes Old Rivalries at G8 Summiti
X
June 17, 2013 11:33 PM
World leaders gathering at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland have been discussing how to end the Syrian conflict - and as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defending his support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, despite criticism from the his G8 counterparts.
Henry Ridgwell
World leaders gathering at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland have been discussing how to end the Syrian conflict - and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defending his support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, despite criticism from the his G8 counterparts.

Intense gun battles rage in the heart of Damascus and Aleppo on the same day that G8 leaders gather in Northern Ireland.

The gulf of disagreement on how to end the fighting appears to be widening.

Chris Phillips of Queen Mary University, London, argues Moscow has been the most consistent international player in the conflict.

"The Russians have always backed the principle of state sovereignty. As they see it, the Syrians have a right to conclude their affairs inside Syria as they wish. Russia itself is an autocratic regime and is not very keen on any major attempts to undermine the principle of state sovereignty and they are going to stand by that," said Phillips.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted Vladimir Putin on the eve of the summit, and reiterated his position that the Syrian president must go.

Putin was equally blunt, rejecting the position of Britain, the United States and France that the Syrian rebels should be armed.

"I want to draw your attention to the fact that Russia supplies arms to the legitimate government of Syria in full compliance of international law. We are not breaching any laws, let me emphasize that: nothing. We call on all our partners to act in the same fashion," said Putin.

Chris Phillips says that Western hesitation over supporting the opposition in Syria has emboldened Moscow.

"They're not actually willing to put in the kind of resources that the sides that want to preserve Assad are willing to put in. The amount of money and weapons being sent by Russia and by Assad's key ally Iran and their key supporters in Hezbollah from Lebanon is vast," he said.

President Putin will find that on Syria, it is him against seven others at the G8, says Professor Christopher Brown of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"It would be actually an achievement if the G8 leaders could collectively put pressure on the opposition and on the government, to attend - to just getting a conference would be a position which is better than the position we're in at the moment," said Brown.

Brown says any progress hinges on the historic rival Cold War powers finding common ground.

"I think there'll be plenty of opportunities for Putin and Obama to sit down together without other people around. Funnily enough I think this is the right forum for dealing with Syria. It's not the right forum for dealing with economic problems, because it doesn't have China and India there," he said.

Healing the world economy is high on the agenda in Enniskillen. But analysts say the continuing bloodshed in Syria is exposing a widening divide among old rivals.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid