Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned Russia’s increased military involvement in Syria as “dangerous.”
Harper says the buildup of equipment and manpower, in an apparent bid to prop up the Assad regime, is likely to inflame an already volatile, bloody civil war.
“The Russian government and (President Vladimir) Putin remains a government that complicates, in dangerous and unhelpful ways, security situations all over the world,” Harper said at a campaign stop in Victoriaville, Que.
On Monday, Samantha Power, America’s ambassador to the United Nations said that Russia’s military deployment in Syria to back Bashar al-Assad “is not a winning strategy.”
“Doubling down on a regime that gases its people, that barrel bombs people, that tortures people who it arrests simply for protesting and for claiming their rights — that’s just not going to work,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that al-Assad “is worried enough that he is inviting Russian advisers in and Russian equipment,” and Reuters reported Monday that Russia had begun deploying several tanks to a Syrian airfield.
“To support a regime like this and to not take account of the views of the vast majority of the Syrian people that want to go in a different direction is not going to either bring peace or actually succeed in defeating terrorism,” she added.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a bid to clarify the intent of Moscow’s military build-up in Syria. Mr Kerry warned that continued support for President Bashar al-Assad “risks exacerbating and extending the conflict,” a statement said.
Mr Kerry’s phone call to the Russian foreign minister is believed to be his third in the past 10 days.
The state department statement said Mr Kerry warned that Russia’s support for President Assad was “undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism if we do not also remain focused on finding a solution to the conflict in Syria via a genuine political transition.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “we’ve made clear that further support, military or otherwise for the Assad regime is destabilizing and counterproductive, principally because Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead that country.” He added that “Russia’s decision to double down on Assad is a losing bet.”
Vice-President Hisham Marwa said that by directly intervening in Syria, Russia has lost the role of mediator or sponsor of a political solution, and eventually become ineligible to put forward initiatives for solutions to the conflict. “Russia has became a party to the Assad regime’s war against the Syrian people.
“Russia’s calls for forming an alliance to fight terrorism conflicts with its support for Assad with weapons, experts and more recently with fighters. The Russians are now building an airbase at the Syrian coast and have set about renovating the airbases from which Assad’s warplanes take off carrying barrel bombs to drop them on women and children.
Marwa stresses that Russia’s initiatives it has proposed over the past four years are mere maneuvers aimed at granting Assad more time to kill more Syrians.
He points out that the Russian support for the Assad regime has contributed to the surge of extremist organizations, adding that the big waves of refugees reaching Europe are mainly caused the Assad regime’s ongoing brutal war on the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)