Russia slams West for being immoral on Syria
In this file photo provided by Ugarit News, security forces in Syria are seen as shooting. Syrian state news agency SANA reported two infiltrators from Turkey are killed. AP photoThe standoff between Moscow and the West over Syria intensified yesterday when Russia slammed as “immoral” Western accusations it was blocking U.N. action condemning the regime’s deadly crackdown.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of bias and a refusal to admit that opposition forces were reverting to militant tactics and committing increasingly more serious crimes. “There are those who refuse to put pressure on the armed, extremist part of the opposition and are at the same time accusing us of blocking the U.N. Security Council’s work. I would call this position immoral,” Lavrov told reporters.
He was specifically responding to barbs fired at Russia by both France and Germany following the United Nation’s release of an updated Syrian death toll of more than 5,000 people. France’s U.N. ambassador Gerard Araud called the U.N. Security Council’s silence over civilian deaths a “scandal” and accused those of blocking action of being “morally responsible” for them. And German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the new toll showed the need for “countries in the Security Council which are still hesitating to change their mind.” Iran’s parliament meanwhile passed a bill for a free trade agreement with Syria in a show of support for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime beset by protests and international pressure. The bill provides for free trade between Iran and Syria within the next five years.
‘Two infiltrators from Turkey killed’
Syria’s state media, for its part, reported that border guards intercepted 15 gunmen trying to infiltrate from Turkey on Dec. 12 night. It said two were killed in the ensuing firefight and others were injured. It was the second such infiltration attempt from Turkey in a week.
Syrian security forces and anti-government military defectors launched attacks that left 26 people dead in a restive northwestern border region, activists and Syrian media said yesterday. The flare-up of violence in Idlib province highlighted how Syria’s uprising, which earlier this year involved mostly peaceful demonstrations in small towns and cities, has become a virtual insurgency in the countryside along the Turkish border.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.