Putin vows not to give up on Assad even if battle reaches streets of Moscow

Putin vows not to give up on Assad even if battle reaches streets of Moscow

Moscow : Russia | Apr 27, 2013 at 2:45 PM PDT
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Vladimir Putin

Today the international community faces a large number of challenges due to the deteriorating situation in Syria, with the possibility that the Syrian army may have used chemical weapons against the rebels and civilians coming back on the table.

While Britain, France and Israel said that chemical weapons had been used, the United States prefers to wait until it is 100 percent sure that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons.

On the other hand, Jordanian journalist and political analyst Nader Makableh, who has good relations with Russian officials, stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a closed-door meeting, without elaborating: "I will not give up the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad even if the fighting reaches the streets of Moscow."

Moreover, Makableh also confirmed that Putin rejected the request of US President Barack Obama to set up an urgent meeting for the two presidents, as Putin wants to confirm to his US counterpart that he is not in a hurry to discuss the Syrian situation. At the same time, Makableh stressed that Assad has prepared a plan to eliminate the armed opposition in Homs and that he will never allow the scenario of Libya to be repeated by establishing a buffer zone.

Russia, since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, has stressed on many occasions that it does not intend to change its position toward Syria.

In September, Putin criticized the Western powers for supporting Muslim extremists to overthrow Assad.

"Today, someone uses al-Qaida fighters or people from other organizations that share its extremist agenda to achieve their goals in Syria. It is a very risky and inconsistent policy," said Putin. The US might as well "open the doors and let all Guantanamo detainees go and fight in Syria. This is the same thing," he added.

Meanwhile, in an interview published on the Russia Today website, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi denied US and British allegations that Syrian regime forces had used chemical weapons against opposition fighters, and instead accused the terrorist groups including al-Qaida of using this type of weapon against Syria.

"First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US secretary of state and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie," he said.

"I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it -- not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues," he added.

Moreover, the pro-government daily newspaper Al-Watan reported that terrorist groups fired at least seven mortars loaded with chemical agents at a unit of the Syrian army in the district of Barzeh in the Syrian capital Damascus. The paper reported that 10 Syrian soldiers were sent to a hospital, and that they all have the typical symptoms of poisoning and complaints of muscle spasms and difficulty of breathing.


Russia's position is not surprising, and the reason is clear: For Russia, the fall of the Syrian regime would mean the loss of its last ally in the Middle East, and thus the loss of its naval base in Tartus.

In fact, the Syrian regime is starting already to feel threatened, which is evident in a Reuters interview with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. Mekdad failed to convince the international community not to support the Syrian revolution. He relied on a new style of threatening, which is to scare the American people that their government is supporting al-Qaida.

"US support for Syrian rebels may lead to more attacks on American soil like those of Sept. 11", Mekdad said.

Commenting on the Boston bombings, Mekdad said, "I hope the American administration will remember again the Sept. 11 attack -- which we strongly condemned in Syria -- and not repeat these policies which encourage terrorism."

I guess the international community reached a conclusion that it is not possible or allowed to drag the Syrian crisis out any longer, because from the lack of decisiveness rises up the fears and concerns of Washington's allies, and enhances the presence of jihadi groups linked to al-Qaida on the ground. It also increases the state of despair and frustration in the ranks of the moderate armed opposition factions. Moreover, it also doubles the Israeli fear that the chemical weapons might reach the hands of extremist groups. For this, a quick move is needed.

Finally, I think the Arab leaders' visits to Washington over the past week, which included officials from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, in addition to the expected visit of Turkey's prime minister next month, indicate that the end of the Syrian regime is certainly approaching. For sure, the Gulf countries will bear a large part of the financial cost of this war.





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Putin: We will not give up on Assad even if the battle reaches the streets of Moscow
Graphic: Suspected chemical weapons production sites in Syria. Source: DER SPIEGEL
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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