Assad: Russia signed arms deals during Syria conflict

Syrian president appears to contradict Russian claims that Moscow supplies weapons under contracts signed before revolt.

    Assad gave no details of the weapons being supplied by Russia, the world's second-biggest arms exporter [AP]
    Assad gave no details of the weapons being supplied by Russia, the world's second-biggest arms exporter [AP]

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Russia has been supplying weapons to Damascus under contracts signed since the conflict in the country began in 2011, as well as under earlier deals.

    Assad's comments, made in an interview published by Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Monday, appeared to contradict Moscow's claim that any arms supplies to the Syrian government were agreed before the conflict began.

    "There are contracts that had been sealed before the crisis started and were carried out during the crisis. There are other agreements on arms supplies and cooperation that were signed during the crisis and are being carried out now," Assad said.

    "They went through some changes to take into account the type of fighting the Syrian army carries out against the terrorists," he said in the full text of the interviews, excerpts of which were published last week.

    Assad gave no details of the weapons being supplied by Russia, the world's second-biggest arms exporter, since the start of the conflict which has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm Assad's statements, but defended Moscow's military ties with Damascus, a long-standing ally.

    "In fact, Moscow has always highlighted that there have been and are no embargoes on military cooperation. There are no legal limitations on us," he told reporters.

    Russia's Defence Ministry, contacted by telephone by the Reuters news agency, declined immediate comment.

    Russia and Iran have reportedly continued to provide much of the military support to the Syrian government, despite war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities allegedly committed in its bid to crush the country's four-year uprising.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.