Russia accuses U.S. of supplying arms to Syria rebels to fight Assad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of supplying weapons to Syria’s rebels, worsening the conflict engulfing Moscow’s allied regime in Damascus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the United States is arming Syrian rebels, in what he suggested could be a violation of international law.

“They (the United States) are providing arms and weapons to the Syrian opposition that can be used in fighting against the Damascus government,” he said, speaking through an interpreter in response to a question about arms sales to Syria at a news conference in Tehran shown on Iranian state television.

But it was revealed that Russia is supplying “anti-air defense systems” to Damascus in a deal that “in no way violates international laws,” Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran.

“We are not violating any international law in performing these contracts … [it] contrasts with what the United States is doing … which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition,” he said.

Meanwhile, France will propose making United Nations envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria obligatory by invoking the U.N.’s “Chapter 7” provision, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday, describing the conflict there as a “civil war.”

Fabius said he hoped Russia would agree to using Chapter 7, a measures which can authorize the use of force, and he said that a no-fly zone was another option under discussion.

“We propose making the implementation of the Annan plan compulsory,” he told a news conference. “We need to pass to the next speed at the Security Council and place the Annan plan under Chapter 7 – that is to say make it compulsory under pain of very heavy sanctions.”

France would propose toughening sanctions on Syria at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, he said.

He said the international community would prepare a list of second-ranking military officials who would be pursued by international justice, alongside President Bashar al-Assad and his immediate entourage.

“They must understand that the only future is in resisting oppression. The time for taking a decision has arrived. They have to jump ship,” Fabius said.

Source: Al-Arabiya

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