Moscow accuses West of arming Syrian opposition

Moscow – Western nations are illicitly providing arms to Syria’s opposition to force the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia’s top diplomat said Monday.

‘Nobody is commenting on it and no one is admitting it, but the facts are impossible to contradict: weapons are being smuggled into Syria from Turkey and Iraq,’ said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

‘Armed extremists are using peaceful demonstrations to provoke Syrian government violence,’ Lavrov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Calls by NATO countries on the al-Assad regime to stop using force to maintain order are self-serving, Lavrov said, considering that some of those very nations are providing weapons to a Syrian opposition responsible for violent protests.

‘Russia is deeply disappointed by this,’ Lavrov said, singling out France and the United States as countries he felt were being especially hypocritical on Syria.

Commenting on a recent Arab League decision to suspend Syria’s membership of the organization, Lavrov said the Kremlin felt the measure was unjustified and that the censure would reduce, rather than increase, the chances of ending violence in the country.

‘We consider it (the suspension) improper. It looks like it was planned ahead of time. Those who made that decision threw away a very important chance to transfer the situation to a more transparent level,’ he said.

The Arab League on Saturday suspended Syria’s membership. It also called on Damascus to implement an Arab deal to end violence against protesters and to hold transition talks with the opposition.

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