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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/26/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Condemnation significant as Russia is one of Syria's fell allies

Russia has always been one of Syria's strongest allies, but has since talked tough about its recent threat to use chemical weapons. The Russian Foreign Ministry gave its strongest condemnation this week in regards to a recent warning by a Syrian official.

Assad's forces have launched massive counter assaults in both cities, appearing to have beaten rebels back from neighborhoods in the capital. Government forces are now turning towards Aleppo, a commercial hub in the north.

Assad's forces have launched massive counter assaults in both cities, appearing to have beaten rebels back from neighborhoods in the capital. Government forces are now turning towards Aleppo, a commercial hub in the north.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Chemical weapons, Syria, Aleppo, Damascus, fighting, rebels


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Syria's ambassador to Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov "laid out in an extremely clear form Russia's position on the inadmissibility of any threats of the use of chemical weapons," the foreign ministry said.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has acknowledged that his nation had chemical weapons, saying it would not use them to crush rebels but would use them against invading foreign powers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of justifying terrorism against the Syrian government. Russia has berated Western nations, in addition to condemning attacks that killed top members of Syrian President Bashar Assad's inner circle last week.

"This is a direct justification of terrorism," Lavrov said, referring to what he said were comments by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, which indicated that such attacks were not surprising given the Syrian government's conduct.

The Syrian army turned its forces on Aleppo in the meantime, ordering an armored column to advance on the country's second biggest city and pounding rebel fighters there with artillery and attack helicopters.

Turkey declared it was closing its crossing posts, as fighting intensified near the Turkish border, although the United Nations said refugees fleeing Syria would be allowed through.

In another sign that the Assad regime is crumbling, two top Syrian diplomats, in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus, have deserted their posts, becoming the latest officials to abandon the Damascus government.

The 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been transformed from an insurgency in remote provinces into a battle for control of the two main cities, Aleppo and Damascus.

Assad's forces have launched massive counter assaults in both cities, appearing to have beaten rebels back from neighborhoods in the capital. Government forces are now turning towards Aleppo, a commercial hub in the north.

Syrian forces fired artillery and rockets at the northern Damascus suburb of al-Tel in an attempt to seize it from rebels, causing panic and forcing hundreds of families to flee, residents and opposition activists said.

"Military helicopters are flying now over the town. People were awakened by the sound of explosions and are running away," Rafe Alam, one of the activists reported. "Electricity and telephones have been cut off."

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