GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Turkey has reacted with anger to Syria’s downing of a jet fighter last week, but reaction coming in from other governments Monday and Tuesday brings to the surface worries about recent reports that the Russian government is supplying the Assad regime with military equipment. Nato has backed Turkey’s harsh warning to Syria to keep its military equipment away from their shared border.
“The Syrian government’s downing of a Turkish fighter jet has served as a stark warning that its military is capable of mounting a sophisticated defense against potential enemies, complicating a Libya-style intervention,” the Washington Post wrote Tuesday, while also reporting that for the first time the Syrian leader has referred to the country’s internal fighting as “a genuine state of war”.
Human Rights Watch 7 June reported that “The Russian firm Rosoboronexport is selling arms to Syria’s government, even though Syria has been unlawfully killing civilians in its cities and towns for the past year. As compelling evidence indicates that Syria’s army is responsible for crimes against humanity, a court could find that Rosoboronexport – or any other company supplying arms to Syria – is an accessory to those crimes. Since 2007, Rosoboronexport, a state-owned company, has had a virtual monopoly on Russia’s arms exports. Syria buys the vast majority of its major conventional weapons from Russia and reportedly received another shipment of Russian arms two weeks ago.”
Turkey has threatened to take military action if Syria forces approach its borders in a “threatening manner”, raising fears that the fighting will spill over from Syria to its neighbours, reports Bloomberg.