Syrian opposition members say they have sensed a shift in Russia's stance on the conflict in their homeland and voiced hope Tuesday that Moscow will crank up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
President Barack Obama meets Russia's Vladimir Putin on Monday for potentially vexatious talks, as both leaders now offer open military backing to rival sides in Syria's civil war. Obama, who leaves Washington on Sunday, will confront Putin at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, after his administration signaled it would begin arming vetted rebels battling Syria's government, Russia's top Arab ally.
While the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seem unable to agree on what the right policy is regarding Syria and specifically Assad, with the former saying a top priority of Trump is to oust Assad, while the latter claimed over the weekend that the Islamic State is the key concern while Assad's fate and that the people of Syria should decide Assad's fate, Russia is not waiting for clarification.
Pressure built on U.S. President Donald Trump to act in Syria one day after he said a poison-gas attack that killed scores of civilians and drew international condemnation went beyond a “red line” for him.
“We are considering an appropriate response,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Thursday in Palm Beach, Florida. “It is serious matter. It requires a serious response.”
Syria has accepted a Russian proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for dismantling, the Syrian foreign minister said Tuesday, amid a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at averting Western military action.
BRUSSELS — A day after the European Union agreed to lift its arms embargo for Syrian rebels, Russia confirmed Tuesday it was giving the Syrian government more high-powered missiles – raising the prospect of a new foreign-fed arms race in the Middle East.