Russia: US Meddling, Calls for Assad to Step Down Are Prolonging the Conflict

The US and its allies continue to arm the rebels and leave no options for Assad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday accused the US and its allies of prolonging the Syrian conflict by supporting the rebel militias and calling for the Assad regime’s unequivocal surrender.

The United States and its allies in several European and Arab governments as well as Turkey are cooperating in their support for the rebel militias, which are increasingly linked with terrorist groups, and have continuously called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

“We propose things that would allow for an immediate ceasefire, but the other side says, ‘No, either the regime capitulates or we will continue to back…the opposition’s armed fight’, justifying terrorist acts,” Lavrov said.

“As long as such support continues, what kind of humanitarian action can we talk about? – including the initiatives of those who will not allow this fire to die down, but instead are fanning it,” he added.

Russia are no angels in this situation either – they still back the Assad regime, although announced they would halt new weapons sales to Syria until the conflict calmed.

But the Russians are not the first to point out that the interventionist policies in Syria are worsening the conflict. UN rights chief Navi Pillay last month condemned the continued flow of weapons from foreign powers to both sides in the Syrian conflict. “The ongoing provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents feeds additional violence,” she said. “Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs.”

A recent study out of Brandeis University concluded “the distillation of historical experience with civil war and insurgency, along with a sober reckoning of conditions on the ground in Syria, make clear” that arming the rebels is “likely to amplify the harm that it seeks to eliminate by prolonging a hurting stalemate.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.