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article imageSyrian opposition visits Moscow seeking Russian help

By Paul Iddon     Jul 11, 2012 in Politics
Two Syrian opposition delegations visited Moscow this week in hopes of garnering support. This is seeing to "no change" in Russia's stance towards Syria.
Reports from BBC News, CBS News and Reuters respectively indicate that the delegation is deeply unsatisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Burhan Ghalioun of the Syrian National Council (SNC) claimed that "the Syria people don't understand Russia's position" and went on to ask "how can Russia keep supplying arms? How can they keep vetoing resolutions?" and added that there "needs to be an end to mass killings."
Abdulbaset Sayda the head of the SNC has claimed that "the events in Syria are not disagreements between the opposition and the government but a revolution," and accordingly asked Russia to bring to an end its support for Assad stating that the "revolution" is "similar to what happened in Russia when it finished with the previous regime and set upon the path of democratic development."
Sayda has claimed that Russia's staunch opposition to any resolutions imposing sanctions against Assad is causing the prevalent "suffering" in Syria. He also claims that the Assad "regime uses Russian weapons against its own people." Russia has counterclaimed stating that its arms contracts with Syria do not include weaponry which can be used against civilians.
Russian officials, particularly the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have expressed doubts that this opposition in its current state is ready for undertaking dialogue with the regime to bring into being an interim government as proposed by peace envoy Kofi Annan. Lavrov state that the Syrian oppositions needs "to act on one platform." President Putin has just earlier this week stated that Russia will do its utmost to "force" both sides of the conflict to bring forth an agreeable solution to bring an end to the violence.
In its report on these developments Reuters quoted an unnamed member of the delegation expressing his frustration with the international communities response to the crisis stating that "they [the United Nations] say they are not holding on to Assad so strongly but then another minute they say 'you guys must sit down and talk,' so they contradict themselves every few minutes."
Russia is Assad's staunchest ally and has consistently used its power in the U.N. Security Council to veto proposed resolutions to condemn and sanction the Assad regime for its actions. Russia opposed the intervention in Libya last year and is therefore doing its utmost through the U.N. to ensure no such intervention will take place in Syria. Sayda has called for intervention by the U.N. to oust Assad, demonstrating that his stance on the situation is diametrically opposed to the Russian one.
Russia at present has dispatched a fleet of 11 warships to the eastern Mediterranean. Russia has stated that some of these vessels will be docking at Russia's naval base in the area -- which is situated outside the Syrian Tartus port. This development constitutes the largest dispatch and projection of Russian military power to that vicinity of the region since the uprising against the Assad regime began 16-months-ago.
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