Russia Syria Plan 'a Lie,' US Arms Reaching Rebels a Myth – Syrian Rebel General
WASHINGTON, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – The commander of the opposition Free Syrian Army on Thursday called Russia's proposal to get Syria to surrender its chemical weapons stocks "a lie" and said his troops are still waiting for long-promised US arms, dismissing reports that the United States has begun delivering weapons to the Syrian opposition.
In an interview aired on National Public Radio (NPR), Gen. Salim Idris said that "the Russian initiative" to prevent a US strike on Syria by getting Damascus to put its chemical weapons arsenal under international control "is just a lie, and the Russian administration, especially President Putin and Sergei Lavrov, are playing games."
"They know that the regime in Damascus is a criminal regime," he said, accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of "killing his own people, using Scud missiles, using chemical materials, the air force to kill everything."
Idris was speaking as Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry were poised to begin at least two days of talks in Geneva to hammer out the details of the Russian proposal on Syria, and as reports in the US media said that, after months of delays, the CIA has begun delivering weapons to the Syrian opposition – a claim Idris said was untrue.
"Lethal materials – we didn't receive any kind of lethal materials from our American friends. No direct military support," Idris said. "We were waiting and still waiting to receive weapons and ammunition."
Reports in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal on Thursday said shipments of light weapons and munitions from the United States "began streaming into Syria over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear."
But Idris said the Syrian Free Army has received humanitarian aid, food and medicines, along with non-lethal equipment like night-vision goggles and flak jackets, but "no weapons from our American friends."
Syrian opposition fighters were also "very frustrated" that US President Barack Obama had this week decided to delay seeking congressional approval for targeted US military strikes against Syria to give the talks in Geneva and a debate in the UN Security Council a chance to find a way to make sure chemical weapons are not used again in Syria, Idris said.
Opposition fighters "told me yesterday, 'We can't understand why Russia and the Iranians are supporting the regime so clearly and our friends are delaying and hesitating,'" he said.
Obama had indicated nearly two weeks ago that the United States was planning limited military strikes against Syria to hold the Assad regime accountable for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians in an attack on Aug. 21 that the United States says killed more than 1,400 people, and to prevent the deadly weapons from being used again.
Russia has said repeatedly that the United States has no evidence to show the Syrian government was behind the attack, and the Syrian government only admitted to having any chemical weapons at all after the Russian proposal was put on the table earlier this week.
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