News / Middle East

Report: Assad Claims Delivery of Russian Arms

Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)
x
Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)
Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)
VOA News
Lebanese media say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has acknowledged receiving a first shipment of a Russian air defense system that could help him to deter foreign military intervention in his conflict with rebels.

The reports say Assad claimed to have received the S-300 air defense shipment while speaking with Lebanese TV station Al-Manar in an interview to be broadcast later Thursday.  Al-Manar is run by pro-Assad Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

There was no independent confirmation of Assad's reported claim and no immediate Russian comment. If confirmed, the delivery of the sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles would represent a major upgrade to Syria's air defenses.

Russia, a longtime Assad ally, has promised to go ahead with the long-delayed sale of the air defense system, saying it would help Syria to prevent military strikes by anti-Assad foreign forces.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon suggested this week that Israel may destroy the S-300s if they are delivered. Israel fears its airspace could be within the range of the surface-to-air missiles, which also could limit its ability to carry out air strikes in Syria to stop weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah.

Opposition

In another development, Syria's main opposition coalition said Thursday it will not take part in a U.S. and Russian-proposed peace conference aimed at finding a political solution to Syria's two-year conflict.

Syrian National Coalition spokesmen said talk of holding such a conference in Geneva next month is "meaningless" in light of what they see as ongoing brutal attacks on the Syrian people by Assad's forces and their Hezbollah and Iranian allies.

The Assad government has agreed, in principle, to attend peace talks with the opposition. But, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Wednesday Assad will remain president at least until the 2014 elections and may run for another term. The SNC has demanded that Assad step down at the start of any transition process.

Bob Bowker, a Middle East specialist and professor at the Australian National University, told VOA neither side is likely to look for a political settlement as long as it believes it can win the conflict.

"And at this moment, the regime certainly believes it will ultimately prevail," Bowker said. "The rebels are a long way from acknowledging that they are not going to win. Each of the contending parties has sufficient external support to keep on going for quite a long time."

Russia's foreign minister criticized the Syrian National Coalition for demanding Assad's removal as a precondition for talks. Speaking Thursday, Sergei Lavrov said Moscow believes the SNC is doing everything it can to prevent a political process from starting.

Analyst Peter Harling of the International Crisis group says that Russia's President Putin is playing a delicate balancing act, being on the one hand the most pro-Israeli leader that Russia has known while on the other stepping up his support for the Syrian regime which is long hostile to Israel.

Harling says that for the time being, the Russians and the Israelis are privately sending reassuring messages to each other.

Rights activists have estimated that the 26-month Syrian conflict has killed at least 80,000 people.

VOA's Edward Yeranian in Cairo contributed to this report


Related video report



You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Alzaripov from: Russian Federation
June 01, 2013 2:22 PM
It is short-sighted policy to arm both the opposition and B.Assad. Arming both warring parties complicates the conflict and it also means many new victims.


by: Juluka
May 31, 2013 12:28 AM
Yip the truth speaks for itself, get yourself to the frontline with the men and then you will understand the bigger picture, easy to talk from the chair.


by: Juluka
May 30, 2013 2:41 PM
Safe in Manchester whilst the British Army is operationally deployed far from home. Perhaps you need to serve on the
front line and then make public your experiences, rather than
you are now doing, from the safety of your chair?

In Response

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 30, 2013 8:17 PM
You're suggesting that the only people qualified to voice an opinion are those who've served on some front line?

That'd exclude about 99% of the UK population...including about 80% of the Armed Forces, (as only about 20% are actually 'front line', the rest being in some supportive role).

Either way I think that'd be the definition of a society run along the lines of a military Junta...hardly a progressive idea now, is it?

Armchair? lol.


by: Haron from: Afghanistan
May 30, 2013 2:19 PM
i think USA lost its' prestige, Economic, democratic policies. instead of searching for a solution in Syria. they must to solve their inside problem. USA lost 500 Trillion dollars with 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. what USA received the award from International communities? most of European countries reject the rebel arming.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 30, 2013 1:43 PM
An insolent demand that Assad be excluded from talks to resolve issues in a country where he is president. The SNC is really not serious about peace in Syria. As for delivery of missiles, Assad must be preemptive and proactive, even if to boast it seeing how much it scares the West - or are they just pretending? What everybody is confused about is the chemicology revolving around Russia, Iran/Hezbollah, Syria and Israel. No love lost, assured, but how did the moderate Assad suddenly become such as juggernaut that every westerner can no longer sleep until he is removed?

International diplomacy should grow beyond the parochialism of partnering only countries that must agree on all things while every other country differing must be destroyed at all costs. The inability of the west to see the world as it is constituted in plurality is the heat. Syria had previously presented an advantage in moderating issues in the ME and Asia and should not be thrown away now because it is re-balancing. Help Syria to stand up again by bringing the feuding parties to table to discuss the way forward and save lives of people facing guns, hunger and insecurity everyday - men, women and children - minority and majority peoples alike.

In Response

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 30, 2013 3:36 PM
I agree with you.

The West wants either total domination of a countries political system or, if it can't achieve that, it seeks to bring chaos to that country, presumably in order to stop that country ever reaching a political, economic and social maturity which may help bring about a truly multi-polar world.

The West is run by devils!


by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 30, 2013 11:57 AM
Israel has free and fair elections and if anyone on the left is elected and seeks peace they are shot dead and if anyone on the right sees the light and seeks peace they 'fall into a coma'! And quite what do these elections change or bring about? Netanyahu was PM in the 1990's, here he is again. The faces in Israeli politics change no more in the course of a generation than those faces do in Syrian politics!

Like those old-time fairground machines where you dropped a penny through a chute with the hope of causing a final cascade of overhanging money on a sweeping platform, the mechanism of democracy, though noble, is largely a triumph of illusion over probability. Either way, the legitimacy of any Israeli Government, whether I agree with its politics or not, has no right under international law to attack, invade, occupy, build upon, suppress, evict, arrest, lay siege to, segregate other peoples and other territories.

In Response

by: Jewzi from: Israel
May 30, 2013 1:25 PM
Kind of makes me laugh. When Nazi Germany was occupying peoples land and massacring them everyone came and rescued these jews. Now when they do it too other people no one cares.


by: Stephen
May 30, 2013 11:56 AM
Firstly the ICC at the Hague has failed in not having this dictator cited for war crimes along with his commanders. However there is still time for them to take a stand against him and show the world they do have what it takes to stop him altogether.

In Response

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester
May 30, 2013 1:21 PM
Let's see Netanyahu, Olmert, Livni, Sharon, Kissinger, Bush and Blair in the dock first eh? The Hague seems to only get a chance to parade from the B-list doesn't it? Let's get to the real heart of the matter and haul in the real big players, movers and shakers.

You think the fig leaf of having won a plebiscite is justification for acts which constitute War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Acts of Illegal Aggression?
That the people on the list above are walking about society freely is testimony that there are serious dysfunctions in OUR democracy which need addressing before we go about passing judgments on the political systems of others.


by: Anonymous
May 30, 2013 10:37 AM
These weapons will not prevent Bashar al Assad from being served justice for his crimes against the Syrian Nation in the least.


by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 30, 2013 10:30 AM
I just think that it's about time the American people woke up to the fact -and acted upon their realisation- that Israel has hijacked its military, economic and political power and that its use, for the purposes of illegal expansion, control and suppression of other peoples and territories, is deeply damaging to its image, standing and to the principles upon which the USA was supposedly founded!


by: dwight from: d.c.
May 30, 2013 8:35 AM
Julian: i take it you didn't believe this biased article.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid