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Assad’s Fall May Expose Russian War Crimes

Russian attack helicopters for Assad signals its need to prevent exposure of alleged Russian involvement in chemical weapons.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/13/2012, 10:00 AM

Civil war in Syria
Civil war in Syria
Reuters

Russia’s shipment of attack helicopters to help Syrian President Bashar Assad win a civil war signals Moscow’s need to prevent Assad’s demise and the exposure of alleged Russian-made chemical weapons, a war cime.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied accusations that Russian specialists are helping the Syrian army to use chemical weapons, Interfax reported last February. Russia is a signatory of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and is required to do everything possible to destroy chemical weapons stockpiles. Syria is not a signatory.

Evidence of chemical weapons has grown in the past month, with allegations from Iran and Syria that rebel forces are using them. Syrian-Iranian propaganda generally tries to hide atrocities by Assad's forces by blaming them on rebels, are termed “terrorists” armed by and supported by the West and Zionists.

The civil war now has been official stamped as such by the United Nations, whose peacekeeping missions and ceasefire agreements with Assad have proven worthless.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told reporters Tuesday, "I think we can say that [there is civil war]. Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control.”

Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly accused of Russia of sending attack helicopters to bolster Assad's arsenal. Speaking in the presence of visiting President Shimon Peres, she said she was "concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria."

The carnage in the 15-month-old peoples’ revolution has worsened every day, and the United Nations issued a report Monday documenting widespread war crimes by Assad’s death squads. Video and eyewitness reports documented the wholesale use of children as human shields and dozens of murders of small boys and girls. Rape has become common as soldiers blast their way into civilian neighborhoods.

The determined support by Russia for Syria may preclude any direct Western military intervention which could quickly turn into a proxy way between Moscow and Washington, the last thing President Barack Obama wants less than six months from presidential elections.