Russia honors pre-2011 contracts with Syria

Aug. 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The Russian military is fulfilling weapons contracts signed with the Syrian government before the onset of civil war, an arms export official.

Russia has sided with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the international debate over the best way to resolve that crisis that erupted in March 2011. The Kremlin said foreign military intervention in Syria would likely make things worse.

Russia counts Syria as one of its main arms customers. Viktor Komardin, deputy head of state arms export corporation Rosoboronexport, said Syria was receiving defense equipment outlined in contracts signed prior to 2011.

"These [contracts] are 100 percent defensive in character," he was quoted by state news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

The report said the Russian military is supplying its Syrian counterparts with air-defense missile systems. It said the status of the S-300 missile defense system was unclear, though the report said the system would be useless because Syrian rebels don't have the ability to conduct air strikes.

RIA Novosti said S-300 would be a "huge obstacle" to any Western military intervention.

A British proposal for the use of force to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad's forces stalled after Prime Minister David Cameron failed to generate enough support from the House of Commons.

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