News / Middle East

US Denies Russian Allegation of Military Supplies to Syrian Rebels

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
x
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
The United States is denying a Russian allegation that it is helping supply weapons to rebels fighting embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow says the Obama administration is aware of the delivery of various weapons to armed groups active in the Syrian conflict.  In a written statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry says, "judging by the declarations of U.S. officials published in U.S. media, the U.S. coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says that is not true.

"This notion that we are coordinating the military assistance of other countries is ludicrous," Nuland said.

The United States does provide what it says is non-lethal assistance to President Assad's opponents, including communications equipment.  Other countries in the so-called "Friends of Syria" group are giving weapons.  Nuland says Washington is coordinating with those allies to ensure that those supplies go to groups that support a democratic future for Syria.

"We are working together to try to understand who's who on the ground in the opposition to ensure that none of us - whether we're supporting on the non-lethal side or making another choice - are inadvertently aiding and abetting extremists.  This is something that we are extremely careful about," Nuland said.

Russia continues to supply arms to President Assad and has been critical of countries backing his opponents.  Russia and China have vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions that would have sanctioned President Assad if he failed to follow through on a political power-sharing plan.

Syria's government is promising to observe a four-day cease-fire starting Friday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.  In an announcement read on state television late Thursday, the military says it will act if "terrorist groups [are] trying to reinforce their positions by arming themselves and getting reinforcements."

A commander for the rebel Free Syrian Army said his fighters will commit to the truce, but respond to any attacks.

U.N. and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says he hopes this will lead to a longer cease-fire and negotiations between the sides.

Nuland says any day in Syria without violence is progress, and that the United States will be watching events closely.  But she says President Assad's government is good at making promises and not as good at following through.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs