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Putin Questions Why West Would Arm Syrian Rebels

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, central London June 16, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning the West to be careful in arming Syrian rebels.

Arriving in London Sunday on his way to the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Putin asked why it is necessary to arm those who he says tear open their enemies and eat their organs. He was referring to a recent video showing a rebel fighter appearing to cut into a dead Syrian soldier and biting his heart.

Putin says this has nothing to do with European humanitarian values.

The United States said last week it has proof Syria has used chemical weapons and says it will send direct military aid to the rebels. It has not specified what that aid will be. Russia has been sending weapons to the Syrian government, but says it is only fulfilling contracts.

Russia and the United States have been working together on planning an international peace conference for Syria, but a time and place are still not set.

The United Nations says the civil war in Syria has killed about 93,000 people over the last two years. Most of those killed have been civilians.

On Sunday, a car bomb blew up at a checkpoint near a military airport outside Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that at least 20 soldiers were wounded and a still undetermined number killed. No other details are available.