News / Middle East

    US, Germany Urge Russia Not to Arm Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry (r)  during a news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the State Department in Washington, May 31, 2013.
    Secretary of State John Kerry (r) during a news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the State Department in Washington, May 31, 2013.
    VOA News
    The United States and Germany are urging Russia not to provide the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

    After talks Friday in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said any Russian arms supplies to Syria could prolong the country's civil war.

    Kerry also said a Russian transfer of the S-300 air defense system to Syria would put Israel's security at risk.

    "It is not helpful to have the S-300 transferred to the region while you are trying to organize this peace and create peace.  It is not helpful to have a lot of other ammunition and other supplies overtly going in - not just from the Russians, and they are supplying that kind of thing, but also from the Iranians and Hezbollah," said Kerry.

    Westerwelle called weapons deliveries to the Assad regime "totally wrong."  He also said the transfers may hurt chances of getting the Syrian government and the opposition into peace talks that were tentatively planned for Geneva next month.

    "It is very important that this Geneva conference gets a realistic chance and, therefore, we ask and we urge everyone not to spoil this conference.  Both parties have to participate, and everyone in the international community should understand how important this conference is, and this is perhaps a window of opportunity.  No one knows if this conference will become a success.  But I think it is the wrong message which has been sent by our colleagues in Russia to the world and to the region by delivering S-300 or other parts of weapons," said Westerwelle.

    Russia has vowed to proceed with the transfer of anti-aircraft missiles to help deter foreign involvement in Syria's civil war. But on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported that delivery of the air-defense system to Syria may be delayed by several months. The Russian news agency quoted an arms industry source as saying the missiles would be transferred to Syria no earlier than September.  

    Israel has threatened to use force to stop the arms shipment. Earlier this month, Israel attacked a suspected weapons supply in Damascus in the belief the weapons were on the way to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

    Meanwhile, Syrian troops and their Hezbollah allies have come closer to capturing the town of Qusair, which controls supply routes vital to both sides in the Syrian war.

    Local media reported troops have cut off rebel forces' supply routes in the Arjun district in northern Qusair.  Pro-Assad forces have been surrounding Qusair in recent days.

    Also, a U.S. citizen was killed in Syria while fighting for opposition forces.  Syrian state media reported the woman, Nicole Mansfield, died during fighting in the town of Idlib.  The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed the death to Mansfield's family.

    In other news, the U.N. refugee agency said the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries passed 1.6 million this week.

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    by: Anonymous
    June 02, 2013 4:58 AM
    Ohhh so Russia wants to provide a defence for Criminal Bashar al Assad... This is just helping provide Bashar a safe haven so he can continue is murder sprees bombing civilian areas and destroying the country. Not only this, but if perhaps some chemical weapons get into the wrong hands, these missiles may defend the criminals using them on civilians and or troops.

    Poor people of Syria are stuck in the middle of this, majority want Bashar al Assad gone, but EVERYONE wants peace. Bashar could never truly represent Syria anymore so he should just go instead of destroying everything and killing people on his way out.


    by: Michael from: USA
    June 01, 2013 8:21 AM
    Israel is a fortress but a hard battle in the air is probably going to happen. Israel has a mythology of a homeland, "O Jerusalem if I forget you let my right hand wither", so any person can sympathize with them being nervous about Syria-Russia-Iran surrounding their fortress

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 01, 2013 6:12 AM
    Please don't supply arms to Syria. I have come to understand that all parties to the conflict are terrorists. The only free people inside are the Syrian civilians who are at the receiving end of every terrorist act. Assad now declared himself a terrorist against his own people by aligning with hezbollah, Russia's continued support brings it in line with such terrorist states like Iran and Libya. The solution now lies in the pragmatic use of Lebanon to root out hezbollah, and from there to enter Syria to free the land once again for the people. For neither Assad's group nor the opposition is good enough for the people of Syria, acceptable state ideal or for Middle East peace and stability. Now that Assad has declared himself terrorist, it is time for the international community to come together to free Syria from terrorists fighting on both sides of the conflict. Thereafter to institute a government made up of brand new politicians devoid of Assad and all terrorist groups that make up the Opposition. Efforts should be made to keep Israel clear from taking part in this, as Assad tries to play the dangerous game of rallying the mindless Arabs to the Resistance. But it won't work for him as sunni countries of Saudi Arabia etc would rather pay Israel to do the clean up of Assad and hezbollah for the peace of the Middle East. But Israel should not accept it - at all costs.

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    June 01, 2013 1:31 AM
    I cannot understand why WEST is crying for any arm supply to Syria. Whereas world famous terrorist are supplying weapons,Dollars and Now human support to terrorist who used to eat humam parts in front of cameras. This is silly just fullfil the wish USA President of 15 years ago to CHANGE REGIME, we are playing this dirty drama of this century. Now we have media reports that USA,BAHRAIN,SAUDI ARABIA,DOHA AND so many other country arm man are fighting to fullfil wish of USA PRESIDENT TO CHANGE REGIME. Is this civilised way to fullfil our dream. Very sad we people call our self educated and civilised but we are supporting terrorism to destroy one society completely from the map, for what to CHANE regime. No body can imagine problems of refugees and family without earing members, how they will survive in this world where people eat human parts with proud. Just think about those girls who have no earning members,how they will survive in this atmosphere where every where cry,tears,pain and wounds.Better to think first to obtain their object about change regime,what is cost of this job?

    by: Igor from: Russia
    June 01, 2013 1:30 AM
    The EU should be ashamed of themselves for having decided to arms the rebels, which are mainly terrorists and led by terrorists. By such decision they have defined themselves as terrorist backers and sponsors. As a result, they have no legal status to urge Russia not to arm Syria. By arming the rebels, they are trying to prolong the civil war. In fact, the Israeli airforce always put Syria's security at risk because Israel can attack any site within Syrian territory at any time with any pretext. So the S300 will be needed to prevent any further random attack from Israel and Nato.

    by: Prof. Donbello from: Austria
    May 31, 2013 6:48 PM
    hey silly "Joe" or should I say "muhamad"... Bashar is afraid of a resolution of "No Fly Zone" over heavy civilian populations that he has systematically slaughtered... if he has the S300 he is immune...
    if he downs a US plane enforcing the resolution - Israel will have to decapitate him and his regime... Israel will not allow an American pilot to be harmed by these barbarians PERIOD!
    In Response

    by: joe from: texas
    June 03, 2013 9:21 AM
    You say Assad has systematically slaughtered his people....well I ask you, where was the west for over 40 years now while Assad has been in power? The west has continued to sport dictators as a policy so don't start being the perfect citizen now...it is too late. All western governments are also responsible for this. Western states continue to support Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc

    by: joe from: texas
    May 31, 2013 2:05 PM
    We keep saying Russia should not arm Assad and how this is only prolonging the civil war but no one wants to stop arming the rebels.

    Saying the s300 will prolong the civil war is comical as this is an anti-aircraft defense system. Basically it is a system to defend their air space....period... don't bother Syria, don't bomb them and you have nothing to worry about. All the pre emptive strikes has caused these problems for the west

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