On Friday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who’s on an official visit to Turkey, told NTV Turkish TV that the alliance wouldn’t meddle in the months-long political crisis in Syria, saying, “We aren’t discussing this issue. We have no intention to intervene in Syria. I strongly condemn the security forces’ crackdown on civilians in Syria. I urge the Syrian leaders to accommodate the democratic legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. The only way forward in Syria is to introduce freedoms and democracy, to accommodate people’s legitimate aspirations”.
Russia has firmly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the uprising. Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria backed by the Arab League and Western nations, to prevent a repetition of “the Libyan scenario”. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the Arab world, the USA, and the EU to refrain from passing judgement on the national dialogue in Syria before it has even begun.
On Friday, the UK Embassy in Moscow said that there aren’t any British troops in Syria, stating, “These reports are untrue. There are absolutely no British troops on Syrian territory at the moment”. An Israeli website, Debkafile, reported that British and Qatari troops are directing rebel ammunition deliveries and tactics in the bloody battle for Homs. It said that four centres of operation were set up in the city to prepare for a secret Turkish military incursion into Syria.
On Friday, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, the RF Gosduma, called on the UN Security Council not to take sides in the Syrian conflict, saying that such an approach undermines chances for a fair dialogue and a peaceful settlement. In a document adopted on Friday, the Gosduma deputies stated, “The unbalanced approach stated in the last [UN] draft resolution on Syria undermines chances for fair and constructive dialogue”. The deputies said that Russian diplomats at the UN concur with the Russian leadership’s position that we should regulate the conflict through an all-inclusive dialogue. The document went on to say, “The RF Gosduma condemns the practise of meddling in other state’s affairs with military forces to impose an outside decision on them. Russia can’t back a resolution implying or conceding such intervention without the direct approval of the UN Security Council”. They urged the UN Security Council not to adopt resolutions calling for coups and a change in the political régime in Syria, as only the Syrians themselves could make such a decision. The deputies went on to say that those member states of the UN Security Council that laid responsibility for the aggravation of the Syrian conflict on Russia and China “purposefully disorient the world community, as they did in Libya”. They urged the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to refrain from violence and realise their responsibility for the Syrian people, to proceed to dialogue aimed to find a compromise. The deputies called on the Arab League to continue actively bolstering the Syrian dialogue and extend the presence of its peace mission in the conflict-torn country.
On Friday morning, Syrian state TV reported, citing the Syrian Health Ministry, that two blasts rocked Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria, killing at least 28 people and wounding 235 more. The TV reports said that the blasts in Aleppo, which had been quiet during the current violent clashes between the government and protesters in other parts of the country, targeted the military intelligence building and a security forces centre. The Italian news agency AGI reported that the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed responsibility for the blasts. The agency quoted Riad al-Asaad, the FSA commander, as saying that the attacks were a response to the shelling of the Syrian city of Homs, a hotspot in the present uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Russian Consul General Rashid Sadikov in Aleppo said that the first explosion occurred at 09.00 local time (11.00 MSK 07.00 UTC 02.00 EST 23.00 9 February PST) and the second followed five minutes later. He said that there were no Russians amongst the casualties and that he took additional measures to protect the building of the Russian Consulate General’s Office.
10 February 2012