The European Union plans to inspect ships bound for Syria to determine if they violate its arms embargo. However the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technology claims it would be illegal to search Russian vessels.
Roman Pukhov the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technology told Interfax-AVN:
"Only aircraft and ships of the European Union are subject to this requirement,” “The EU has no international legal right to inspect aircraft and ships belonging to countries that are not its members, including Russia."
According to media reports the EU plans to adopt a resolution Monday that would give officials the right to inspect aircraft and ships suspected of violating the arms embargo the EU imposed on Syria. Pukhov said it would not be possible for EU officials to legally search Russian ships. Pukhov said that Russia was continuing military-technical cooperation in compliance with international law.
Pushkov noted that Syria is not under UN Security Council sanctions and hence arms shipments to the Syrian government are not banned. However Russia is apparently delaying delivery of its shipment of three attack helicopters according to an anonymous military source. The helicopters are to be delivered after security is restored. The official said."The decision to delay the Syrian delivery timeframe is based on the escalating military and political situation in the country and the act of terror in which several senior Syrian officials were killed and injured,""In these conditions, the authorities are not able to guarantee the safe reception of the helicopters." The delivery of the helicopters was delayed back in June when the British insurer cancelled insurance of the ship transporting the helicopters. The helicopters had been upgraded in Russia under a contract signed in 2008 long before the present crisis
While Russia is supplying arms to the Assad regime, the rebels are also finding sources of supply. There is a steady trickle of supplies into Syria through Turkey, Lebanon, and even Iraq according to Free Syrian Army (FSA) officers. The New York Times reports that the arms shipments are mainly financed by wealthy persons, no doubt Sunni, in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as expatriate Syrians. The Times also notes.A small number of CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
With both sides being armed and the west demanding regime change while Assad so far has adamantly refused to step down there seems little chance of a political solution to the conflict in the near term.