UK & World News
US: Russia Sends Attack Helicopters To Syria
Hillary Clinton has warned that Russia is sending attack helicopters into Syria, as the United Nations peacekeeping chief says the country is now in a full-scale civil war.
The US Secretary of State expressed concerns over reports that Russia is supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, which could fuel tensions further.
She said: "We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria.
"They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn't worry - everything they are shipping is unrelated to their (the Syrian government's) actions internally. That's patently untrue.
"And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
Her comments come as the UN's Herve Ladsous said violence in the country is escalating.
Asked if the situation in Syria warrants civil war, he said: "Yes I think we can say that.
"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.
"There is a massive increase in the level of violence."
He also referred to the use of helicopters in the government's attempts to recapture districts taken by the opposition.
Mr Ladsous said: "Now we have confirmed reports of not only the use of tanks and artillery but also attack helicopters.
"This is really becoming large-scale."
He is the first senior UN official to declare the conflict a civil war.
Moscow has consistently rejected the use of outside force to end the uprising against Assad's 40-year regime, and insists that any arms it supplies are not being used to quell anti-government dissent.
The two countries have a long-standing military relationship, with Syria hosting Russia's only naval base on the Mediterranean Sea.
If Russia is sending Syria attack helicopters, it would deal a serious blow to efforts to starve government troops of supplies.
The town of Haffa has been one of the areas worst-hit by the escalation in violence.
Syrian Free Army rebels withdrew from the area following bombardment by government troops, a rebel spokesman said.
Angry crowds blocked UN observers from reaching area.
Monitors said they were met with gunfire and their vehicles had stones and metal rods thrown at them, although no one was injured.
The Red Cross has said the situation is deteriorating in several parts of Syria simultaneously making it impossible to respond to all humanitarian needs at once.
Troops also stepped up attacks on the central city of Homs and its suburbs, pounding rebel positions.But Foreign Secretary William Hague has said he does not want to resort to military intervention.
"This is reminiscent of Bosnia in the early nineties so I don't think we should think about it in terms of the Libya situation last year," he said.
"All our efforts are going into supporting a peaceful transition in Syria and a peaceful solution, because any violent solution would clearly involve many more deaths and a great deal more hardship for the Syrian people."
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what do you think?
david j cole
Keep out, stay away we are not the worlds policemen
There is a difficulty here, we are not in the business of wholesale killing of populations - people. Those who support it do so because they are and wish to keep their options open for the future. If you cannot support such killing you really cannot just stand by and we don't. perhaps everybody deserves some chance? Life can be so valuable and yet so cheap.
Thanks to this rotten government (and I write that as a Tory member), we haven't the defence capability or manpower to do anything - and in this case I don't think we should interfere anyway, just as we should have left Libya alone.
Anyone with a shred of humanity supports asction now to remove this murderous regime. Chris & David Wragg, appeasement never solved or prevented anything certainly not atrocities such as is happening in Syria.
David There is the capacity, much money is wasted by the military because of tradition Go on to any barracks with multiple occupants and you will have multiple stores, H&S reps. kitchens mess rooms etc. etc. are all triplicated most with little to do this would not be tolerated in private industry - most military do not live in the real world The military need to be dragged into the 20th C the 21st. will have to wait
The free syrian army started this now there backsides are getting.slapped they want our help. ..... Dont think so
The Russians say '... that any arms it supplies to Syria are not being used to quell anti-government dissent.' As a pathetic excuse, its on a par with the assurances we and the Americans always gave when we wanted to sell weapons to dictators in the past.
Russia and the US serve the same end game, but compete with each other for the top spot. With Madonna's bad omen speech at her kick-off concert, I fear that this will spread like a whirlwind tour of the Middle East. Most people aren't even concerned with this. It's Euro '12, Wimbledon and the Olympics instead.
What about when America supplys arms to Israel to attack the Gaza Strip and Palestinian people. Double Standards !!
Well, who is surprised? Russia and Syria are close allies with the former having its Mediterranean naval base in the country, so we intervene at our peril. It should also serve as a warning of Russian intentions for the future now that Putin is back in power and determined to create a 'Union of Eurasian States' which will include all the former states of the USSR. You have been warned!
Politics is a dirty two faced game. America have armed gadaffi, sadam, talaban, the list goes on. Us human beings are greedy creatures who do not deserve this beautiful earth. Money, power and greed run this planet. Where it should be love, peace, modesty, kindness, empathy and compassion
Was it not america who supplied the Viet cong, al kaida etc etc What hupocritics