Syrian army fighting ‘militants, ‘provocateurs’: RussiaJune 16th, 2011 - 3:09 am ICT by IANS
Astana, June 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Wednesday against attempts to define “provocateurs” and “militants” fighting against the government in Syria as peaceful protesters.
“The main thing is to avoid painting the picture that Syrian security forces, the armed forces are acting solely against peaceful demonstrators,” Lavrov told journalists on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana.
“There are very many armed provocateurs [among the Syrian protesters],” he said, adding “I think no state would tolerate direct attempts at rebellion.”
Syrian security forces have been trying to “free” residential locations seized by a “large group of armed militants,” he said.
Syrian rights organisations have estimated that some 1,300 people have been killed and more than 10,000 arrested in Syria since protests demanding the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian rule broke out in the country in mid-March.
Lavrov reiterated Russia’s position Wednesday, saying that the country would not support a resolution condemning violence in Syria that France and Britain are expected to put to a vote at the UN Security Council in near future.
Russia insists that reforms promised by Assad should go forward and a dialogue with the opposition launched to resolve the crisis, the minister said.
A delegation of Syrian opposition figures and human rights activists will visit Moscow June 27 to discuss ways out of the political crisis in the country with Mikhail Margelov, the Russian presidential envoy to Africa, the head of the Syrian Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, an independent organisation based in Washington, told RIA Novosti.
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Tags: astana, authoritarian rule, bashar al assad, human rights activists, independent organisation, kazakh, opposition figures, peaceful demonstrators, peaceful protesters, political crisis, president bashar, residential locations, ria novosti, russian presidential envoy, sergei lavrov, shanghai cooperation organization, strategic studies, syrian army, syrian opposition, un security council