Russia: We're Happy To Sell Arms To Assad [View all]
Charlotte McDonald-Gibson , Shaun Walker
Moscow Wednesday 14 March 2012
Russia insisted yesterday that it would not halt arms shipments to Syria even as evidence mounts that the regime is committing crimes against humanity, with a rights group today releasing a sickening dossier of the torture inflicted on those who oppose President Bashar al-Assad.
The comments by Russia's Deputy Defence Minister, Anatoly Antonov, that existing contracts will be adhered to despite reports of up to 8,000 dead, come as activists prepare to mark a grim year since their call for reform descended into bloodshed. Mr Assad's tanks continued to roll into dissident areas, with the army reported to have recaptured the rebel stronghold of Idlib near the Turkish border, until now held by army defectors fighting for the Free Syrian Army. Activists said dozens of people had been killed in the assault, their bodies dumped in local mosques.
The tens of thousands trying to flee the country face the added danger of landmines that Human Rights Watch says have been laid along Syria's borders with Turkey and Lebanon.
Carroll Bogert, a deputy executive director of the New York-based watchdog, told The Independent that these mines were Russian-made.