Russia Sends Warship to Syrian Port of Tartus
The conclusion of the meeting, which was held Sunday in Istanbul by the Friends of Syria group, to support U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s six point plan on ending armed conflict in Syria, followed by a decision to start sending money and communication equipment to Syrian Free Army, i.e. anti-government rebel forces, did not receive support from Russia.
What is more, Russia has sent a third warship to the region, a guided-missile destroyer, dubbed the Smetlivy, which will join Russian existing elite marine units and special-operations forces at the Syrian port of Tartus.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Russia will not be part of the initiative aimed at forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with the Annan’s plan or the stipulated deadlines.
“Ultimatums and artificial deadlines rarely help matters. Annan has a Security Council mandate and it is up to [it] to decide who is complying with this plan and how,” Lavrov said.
Even though the White House supported the initiative, intended to send communication equipment to the anti-government forces, the government representatives have opposing opinions on the matter. Especially due to the possibility that the weaponry could end up in the wrong hands.
There are various reasons that question deeper involvement of the U.S. in the issue, having in mind its role in the recent conflicts in the Middle East and decision to pull out from Afghanistan.
The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers claims that it would be risky to go along with this idea, because it is still unknown who are the military groups fighting against the Assad’s regime. On the other hand, backers of military support, such as Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman allege that “armed support is the only way to curb Assad’s brutal crackdown on rebel forces”.
Naval Today Staff , April 03, 2012;