Syrian crisis wearing on US-Russia relations

In another sign of the brutality of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Amnesty International released a report alleging the worse human rights abuses in 30 years. The report came as Syria continued its heavy assault on Homs and surrounding towns.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Amnesty says at least 276 cases involved prisoners who perished as a consequence of torture, and some involved victims who were younger than 18. The torture appears to have been intended to not only punish and coerce confessions from prisoners, but also perhaps as a warning to others, the report says.

Meanwhile, Russia did not back off from its support for Syria despite recent calls for an end to the violence. A Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Anatoly Antonov said that his country had no intention of stopping arms shipments to Syria.

“Russia enjoys good and strong military technical co-operation with Syria, and  we see no reason today to reconsider it. Russian-Syrian military co-operation is perfectly legitimate,” said Antonov.

The ongoing support worsened relations between the US and Russian relations hit another bump as both sides sought to assign blame for the worsening situation in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov launched an attack on supporters of  arming of the Syrian population, saying that “nterference from outside, using raw military force, increases the illicit spread of arms” and was threatening stability in the region, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Russia for standing silent in the face of Assad’s assault on civilians. “We reject any equivalence between premeditated murders by a government’s military machine, and the actions of civilians under siege driven to self-defense,” she said.


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