Don't arm organ-eating Syrian rebels, Putin warns Western leaders
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin in London on Sunday, where they discussed the latest developments in Syria.(AFP PHOTO/POOL/ANTHONY DEVLIN)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the Western stance on the Syrian conflict on Sunday, questioning their decision to arm Syrian rebels who eat human organs.
“I think you will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies and eat their organs,” he said.
Putin added in dismay, “Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons?”
However, the Russian leader said both sides taking part in the conflict have blood on their hands.
“We can overcome these differences if we recognize that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them.”
Meanwhile, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) official on Saturday said it would take six months for opposition fighters to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime now that U.S. has agreed on arming the rebels.
Brigadier General Salim Idriss, the current chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the FSA, told Al Arabiya that the rebels’ fight would depend on how much support the U.S. is planning to offer.
“If we only get some armed support, we will continue to battle for a long time. But if receive enough training and arms and are well-organized, I think we need about six months to topple the regime,” Idriss said.
The White House said on Thursday that it will provide military assistance to the opposition after it has been concluded that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the Syrian people and crossed what President Barack Obama had called a "red line."
The Obama administration said it has provided Russia with the proof of the chemical weapons in Syria and that the subject will be discussed at an upcoming G8 summit.
The White House, in a statement issued late Thursday, said the use of chemical weapons “violates international norms and crosses clear red lines.”
Russia said on Saturday there was no need for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons against the rebels because his forces were making steady advances on the ground.
“The regime, as the opposition is saying out in the open, is enjoying military success on the ground,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a joint press appearance with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino, AFP reported.
“What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms -- especially in such small amounts?” Lavrov asked.
Russia said on Friday it was unconvinced by U.S. allegations that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people.