Russia will openly extend hands to help Syria if the United States takes military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime, said Russian president Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin went on to say that the Kremlin is already supplying arms to Syria, reports Michael Kelley of Business Insider. The Russian president was responding to media questions at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.
Russia has used veto power to protect Assad
Ever since the Syrian conflict began in early 2011, Russia has supplied the Assad regime with fighter jets, anti-ship missiles, guns, tanks, military personnel, diplomatic help and plenty of cash. China stands by Russia against any military intervention in Syria. In the past, Russia and China have used the veto powers three times to trash away resolutions that were against Assad. The two countries said that any action against Syria without U.N. support will be illegal.
Putin reiterated that the use of chemical weapons on August 21 in Damascus was due to a provocation by Syrian rebels. He said that rebels provoked the Assad regime to get support of Western countries. The Syrian conflict has killed more than 100,000 people so far, including 1,429 people who were killed in the chemical weapon attack.
Obama failed to persuade Russia
Despite President Obama’s repeated attempts, the U.S. couldn’t win backing from Russia for a military strike in Syria. Putin said that destabilizing the current situation in Syria will prove “counter-productive.” Vladimir Putin said that he had a one-to-one meeting with his U.S. counterpart over Syria. They listened to each other but didn’t agree on the other’s opinion.
After the G20 summit, the U.S. signaled that it would no longer seek the support of Russia at the United Nations about Syria. Washington also indicated that it will take military action to punish Assad regime without support of the UNSC.
U.S. Congress is yet to fully approve military action on Syria, though U.S. armed forces are well-positioned in the Middle-East.