Nation & World News

Russian Plan ‘Is Just A Lie,’ Syrian Rebel General Says

By Mark Memmott on September 12th, 2013

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime’s chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that “the Russian initiative is just a lie.”

Russia is “playing games. … They know that the regime in Damascus is a criminal regime,” Gen. Salim Idris told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

The general’s words echoed a statement he made in a video posted online late Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. “We announce our definitive rejection of the Russian initiative to place chemical weapons under international custody,” Idris said in that video.

Kerry is in Geneva for at least two days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The U.S. delegation will be testing the credibility of the Russian plan — which the Assad regime says it has accepted. “Aides to Kerry expect an intense couple of days of meetings with Russian officials as they go over the nitty gritty of how this proposal might work,” reports NPR’s Michele Kelemen, who is in Geneva.

The talks in Geneva have been preceded, of course, by last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus and the Obama administration’s talk of striking military assets of President Bashar Assad’s regime as a way of holding the Syrian leader responsible and deterring future use of such weapons.

Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, has been trying to prevent any U.S. military action. In Thursday’s New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that “a strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism.”

In his conversation with NPR, Idris said many Syrians “can’t understand why the Russians and Iranians are supporting the [Assad] regime” and why “our friends are delaying” — a reference to President Obama’s decision to hold off on any missile strikes.

Many Syrians, Idris said, are also “very frustrated and they think that our friends will leave us alone.”

The rebel commander disputed a new Washington Post report that says “the CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures.”

His fighters have not received “any weapons from our American friends,” Idris told NPR. The assistance they have received, according to Idris, has been in the form of “humanitarian aid, food and medical materials” as well as some flak jackets, light vehicles and communications equipment.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Kerry: Iran Faces ‘Hard Choices’ To Reach Nuclear Deal With West

The secretary of state, who has been in talks in Vienna for the past several days, says an agreement could be done “quickly” if Tehran is prepared to compromise.


An investor looks through stock information at a trading hall in a securities firm in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, last week. Since mid-June, the main Shanghai Stock Index has lost 30 percent.

China Takes Steps To Halt Plunge In Stock Markets

The main Shanghai stock index has dropped 30 percent since mid-June, triggering margin calls that have fueled further selling.


The Soyuz-U space launch vehicle rocket carrying the Russian cargo ship Progress M-28M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday. The Progress resupply capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station on Sunday.

Russian Supply Capsule Successfully Docks With Space Station

The Progress M-28M spacecraft delivered tons of food, water, oxygen, fuel and other supplies after previous attempts had ended in failure.


German Finance Minister Wolfang Schaeuble is depicted on a pro No poster (left) next to a graffiti (right) that read "No" (Nein) in German but also sounds like "Yes" in Greek. The photo was taken in Athens, on Sunday.

Greece Gives Thumbs-Down On Bailout Referendum

By a decisive margin, the people rejected a package of austerity measures from international creditors and handed their leaders a mandate to try to renegotiate the deal.


U.S. players run drills during a practice for the Women's World Cup soccer final under the open roof of BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday. The U.S. is scheduled to play Japan on Sunday.

U.S. Women Head Into World Cup Final With Dominant Defense

The U.S. hasn’t given up a goal since its opener against Australia — a stunning scoreless streak of 513 minutes. Now the team meets Japan for a hotly anticipated rematch of the last World Cup final.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments