US, Russia trade accusations on arming Syria
SYRIA: Washington and Moscow traded accusations on Wednesday
over arming the rivals in the Syrian conflict, as Damascus said it had
"cleansed terrorists" from Al-Haffe, a Sunni enclave feared to be the
target of a new massacre.
On the ground, meanwhile, at least 50 people were killed as troops
and rebels clashed across the country, said the Syrian Observatory for
Due to what Moscow said was a mistake in translation, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared at first to accuse the United States of
supplying weapons to rebels who are battling the regime of President
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday she had
information that Russia was sending attack helicopters to Syria, "which
will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
But Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran that
Russia was supplying "anti-air defence systems" to Damascus in a deal
that "in no way violates international laws." "That contrasts with what
the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms
to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian
government," he said, in remarks translated from Russian into Farsi by
an official interpreter.
Other media, including Iran's official IRNA news agency, published
the same accusation, in what appeared to be the first time Moscow had
directly pointed the finger at Washington. AFP