Assad, Russia Envoy Discuss Syria Constitutional Committee

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad                                 HO / Syrian Presidency Telegram Page / AFP

 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an envoy from ally Russia on Sunday discussed “removing the obstacles” to forming a constitutional committee demanded by international powers to help end the seven-year war, the presidency said.

The leaders of Russia, rebel backer Turkey, Germany, and France last week in Istanbul called for the committee to be formed by the end of the year to discuss a post-war constitution, “paving the way for free and fair elections” in Syria.

On Sunday, Assad held talks with Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev on “forming the committee to discuss the current constitution”, the presidency said in a statement.

They agreed “to continue joint Syrian-Russian work towards removing the obstacles still in the way of forming this committee”, it said.

A Turkish-Russian deal for Syria’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib has revived a push towards a diplomatic solution to the country’s conflict, with international efforts focused on setting up the 150-member committee.

Under a UN plan, the regime would choose 50 of the committee members, the Syrian opposition another 50 and the UN would nominate the final 50, composed of representatives of civil society and technical experts.

But last week, Damascus rejected a UN list presented by the world body’s outgoing envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Instead, the Damascus regime is to draw up its own list, along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, according to de Mistura, who is set to step down at the end of the month.

Even if the committee is formed, analysts say the task of discussing a post-war constitution will be difficult.

The opposition has pushed for an entirely new constitution, but the regime has said it will only discuss altering the current one.

Assad’s forces have notched up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists since Russia intervened militarily on its side in 2015, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

AFP

Assad Denies Moscow Running Show In Syria

A handout picture released by the official Telegram page of the Syrian Presidency on May 31, 2018, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad giving an interview to a journalist from Russia 
HO / Syrian Presidency Telegram Page / AFP

 

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad denied Moscow is running the show in his war-torn country, saying in an interview released Sunday his government operates independently of its Russian and Iranian allies.

In a wide-ranging interview in Damascus with the Mail on Sunday, Assad slammed the United States and British military actions in Syria as “colonial” while praising supporter Russia.

“We’ve had good relations with Russia for more than six decades now, nearly seven decades. They never, during our relation, try to dictate, even if there are differences,” he told the British newspaper.

Assad admitted his government has disagreed with Russia and Iran throughout the country’s seven-year conflict.

“That’s very natural, but at the end the only decision about what’s going on in Syria and what’s going to happen, it’s a Syrian decision,” he said.

Moscow intervened militarily in Syria’s conflict in 2015 when Assad’s forces were struggling to hold territory against rebel fighters.

Russian air strikes and military advisors have since helped regime troops seize back more than half the country.

Tehran, too, has sent military advisors to Syria, but Assad has denied that Iranian troops are on the ground.

Iran’s regional foe, Israel, has repeatedly warned it will not accept an entrenched Iranian presence in Syria.

It is suspected of carrying out numerous raids on Syrian government positions over the years, and last month announced unprecedented strikes on what it said were Tehran-operated bases in Syria.

In his interview, Assad denied Moscow had ever had prior knowledge of such strikes, despite close cooperation between Israel and Russia.

“No, no, that’s not true,” he said.

“Russia never coordinated with anyone against Syria, either politically or militarily, and that’s (a) contradiction,” he said.

“How could they help the Syrian army advancing and at the same time work with our enemies in order to destroy our army?”

Syria’s war has also drawn in many Western powers, who first backed rebel groups against Assad then shifted their focus to defeating the Islamic State jihadist group as part of a US-led coalition.

Assad lambasted the American and British interventions, saying they were “breaching the sovereignty of Syria”.

“This is colonial policy, that’s how we see it, and this is not new,” he said.

He also told the Mail on Sunday that his country had stopped intelligence sharing with European nations.

“They want to exchange information despite their governments being politically against ours, so we said… When you change your political position, we’re ready,” he said.

“Now, there’s no cooperation with any European intelligence agencies including the British.”

The interview, according to the Mail on Sunday, was Assad’s first with a British journalist since 2015. Its full transcript was published on Syrian state news agency SANA.

Putin Meets Assad, Calls For ‘Political Process’ On Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Sochi on May 17, 2018. Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP

 

Russian President, Vladimir Putin held a rare meeting with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on Thursday and said the situation in Syria is now favourable for the beginning of a “political process” which would lead to the withdrawal of foreign forces.

“After the military success (of the Syrian army in recent months) supplementary conditions have been created which favour the start of a political process on a major scale,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin following the meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “there were detailed discussions” between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.

“With the start of the political process in its most active phase, foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory,” Putin said, without specifying which foreign forces.

Putin also congratulated Assad on the “successes of the Syrian government’s army in the fight against terrorist groups”.

“The next task, of course, the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a difficult situation,” Putin added.

Russia has been involved in Syria’s civil war since September 2015. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad’s regime, it changed the course of the war.

In a statement from the Syrian presidency, Assad said “we have evaluated the political process” and will select candidates for a constitutional committee, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi, that will work with the United Nations.

According to a Kremlin statement, Assad said “stability is improving” in Syria, “opening the door to the political process we started some time ago”.

“We know it will not be easy because some countries do not want stability to return to Syria. But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process,” Assad was quoted as saying in the statement.

Russian television broadcast short clips from the two men’s discussion.

The visit comes on the eve of a meeting in Sochi between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the first face-to-face talk of the year between the veteran leaders.

AFP

West Indicts Assad For Syria Attack

FILE COPY Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad (C) talking with government troops in Eastern Ghouta, in the leader’s first trip to the former rebel enclave outside Damascus in years.
HO / Syrian Presidency Facebook page / AFP

 

A year after the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhun was attacked with sarin, the United States and its European allies vowed that Bashar al-Assad will be held to account.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the United States also sternly criticized Russia for failing to strip its ally of his deadly chemical arsenal.

“Today marks one year since the heinous attack… where Assad’s forces unleashed sarin nerve gas with tragic consequences for hundreds of men, women and children,” they said.

“We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere,” said foreign ministers Boris Johnson, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas and US Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan.

“We are committed to ensuring that all those responsible are held to account. We will not rest in our efforts to seek justice for the victims of these abhorrent attacks in Syria.”

At around 7:00 am on April 4, 2017, an air strike hit Khan Sheikun, a small town in northwestern Syria held by rebel fighters opposed to Assad’s Russian-backed regime.

According to a UN-commissioned report, many residents of the town suffered the symptoms of an attack from an illegal nerve agent and more than 80 or them died, convulsed in agony.

US President Donald Trump responded to the attack three days later, when US vessels in the Mediterranean fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

But Assad has denied ordering the attack and Russia has continued to give him diplomatic cover at the United Nations, despite having agreed to help remove his banned weapons.

“In 2013, Russia promised to ensure Syria would abandon all of its chemical weapons,” the ministers said.

“Since then, international investigators mandated by the UN Security Council have found the Assad regime responsible for using poison gas in four separate attacks.

“Instead of fulfilling its promise, Russia reacted by using its Security Council veto to shut down the investigation.

“Each time a chemical weapon is used, it undermines the global consensus against their employment,” they warned.

“Any such use is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and gravely undermines the rules-based international order.”

AFP

Syria’s Assad Congratulates Putin On ‘Natural’ Victory

FILE PHOTO Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in Sochi.
Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP

 

Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday for winning a fourth presidential term, saying it was the result of his “outstanding performance”. 

Putin, who has backed Assad politically and militarily since the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, scored another six years in office on Sunday.

“The Russian people’s exceptional trust in you is a natural outcome of your outstanding national performance,” Assad told Putin on Monday in a congratulatory cable.

Russia has been a top ally of Syria for decades, operating a naval base out of the western port of Tartus.

In September 2015, Moscow began carrying out air strikes in support of Assad’s ground troops and has since helped him recapture swathes of territory from rebels and jihadists.

“The Russian Federation’s command stood against terrorism in word and indeed, and the Syrian army is grateful for your contribution to eliminating terrorist forces across most Syrian territory,” Assad said on Monday.

Putin visited Syria in December and announced a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the war-torn country.

The newly re-elected leader on Monday said Russia would cut its military spending.

AFP

Strikes, Clashes Hit Syria’s Ghouta Despite Ceasefire Call

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on a ceasefire in Syria February 24, 2018 in New York.
Don EMMERT / AFP

 

 

New regime air strikes and heavy clashes shook Syria’s rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Sunday despite a UN demand for a ceasefire to end one of the most ferocious assaults of Syria’s civil war.

After days of diplomatic wrangling, the Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria “without delay”, to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a major bombing campaign against the enclave on the edge of Damascus a week ago, with more than 500 people since killed.

The UN resolution has raised hopes of stemming the bloodshed but it remains unclear when or how broadly the ceasefire could be implemented.

Russia is a key ally of Assad’s regime and in a phone call on Sunday German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron urged President Vladimir Putin to use his influence.

They called on Russia “to exercise maximum pressure on the Syrian regime to achieve an immediate suspension of air raids and fighting”, Merkel’s office said in a statement.

Pope Francis also joined international calls for a ceasefire, saying in his Sunday Angelus prayers: “All this is inhuman. One cannot fight evil with another evil.”

In Douma, the main town in Eastern Ghouta, fresh air raids and artillery strikes could be heard on Sunday, an AFP correspondent in the town said.

Ground fighting intensifies

At least seven civilians were killed in strikes on Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, bringing the total number of dead in the week to 527, including 129 children.

Although there appeared to be fewer air strikes, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, fighting had intensified on the ground.

Heavy clashes erupted in southern areas of Eastern Ghouta, he said, with at least 13 members of pro-regime forces and six fighters from the Jaish al-Islam rebel group killed.

“They are the most violent clashes to take place since the beginning of the month,” said Abdel Rahman, whose Britain-based group uses a network of sources across Syria to monitor the country’s conflict.

Mohamed Alloush, a key figure in Jaish al-Islam, tweeted that the rebels were “resisting” bids by regime forces to enter the region.

Eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 people, is surrounded by government-controlled territory and its residents are unwilling or unable to flee.

The two main rebel groups controlling the enclave — Jaish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman — welcomed the Security Council demand, but vowed to fight back in case of renewed attacks.

Jaish al-Islam said it was “committed to protecting humanitarian convoys” but warned it would “immediately respond to any violation”.

UN diplomats say Saturday’s Security Council resolution was watered down to ensure it was not vetoed by Russia, which has provided diplomatic and military support to Assad’s regime.

Language specifying that the ceasefire would start 72 hours after adoption was scrapped and the term “immediate” was dropped in reference to aid deliveries and evacuations.

In another concession, the ceasefire would not apply to operations against the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda, along with “individuals, groups, undertakings and entities” associated with the terror groups.

Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate is present in Eastern Ghouta and Assad’s regime routinely describes all of its opponents as “terrorists”.

Iran’s army chief-of-staff said Sunday that the Syrian military would continue to target “terrorist groups” in Eastern Ghouta.

“The zones on the periphery of Damascus… are not covered by the ceasefire and the offensives and clearing operations by the Syrian army will continue,” said Mohammad Bagheri, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Iran has also been a key ally of Assad’s regime.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who has described Eastern Ghouta under the bombardment as “hell on Earth,” said the ceasefire must be “immediately” implemented.

 ‘Used to betrayals’ 

In the enclave, news of the UN vote was greeted with a shrug.

“I don’t think this decision will be implemented. It will be respected neither by the regime nor Russia,” said Douma resident Abu Mazen.

“We can’t trust Russia or the regime. We are used to their betrayals,” he added.

Russia has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families from Eastern Ghouta, like the one that saw the government retake full control of Syria’s second city Aleppo in December 2016.

But rebel groups have refused.

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta have also been firing into Damascus.

Around 20 people have been killed in eastern districts of the capital since February 18, according to state media.

A total of more than 340,000 people have been killed and millions driven from the homes in Syria’s war, which next month enters its eighth year with no diplomatic solution in sight.

AFP

Syria’s Assad Replaces Defence Minister

al-assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad replaced his defence minister for the first time since 2012 as part of a government reshuffle announced by the state news agency SANA on Monday.

“President Assad issued a decree, the first of 2018, naming General Ali Abdullah Ayoub minister of defence,” the agency said, without providing any explanation for the surprise announcement.

The 65-year-old was until now the chief of general staff of the armed forces and replaces Fahd Jassem al-Freij.

Freij took over in July 2012 after predecessor Daoud Rajha was killed in the bombing of a command centre in Damascus, together with his deputy Assef Shawkat, who was Assad’s brother-in-law .

Ayoub was born in Latakia, a coastal city in the heartland of the Alawite community to which Assad belongs.

The reshuffle also saw two other changes: Mohammed Mazen Ali Yusef was given the industry portfolio and Imad Abdullah Sara, previously the head of the state broadcasting corporation, was named information minister.

AFP

Macron Urges Putin To Pressure Assad On Aid To East Ghouta

France’s Macron Seeks Trade Discussion At EU Summit
File: French President Emmanuel Macron  Photo Credit:  AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “use his influence” with the Syrian regime to allow aid to reach the besieged Eastern Ghouta region.

Macron told Putin in a phone conversation that “humanitarian access (should be) guaranteed as soon as possible, in particular in Eastern Ghouta where hundreds of thousands of people are in great distress,” the president’s office said in a statement.

A “de-escalation zone” deal agreed by regime allies Iran and Russia and rebel backer Turkey has been in place in the region near the capital Damascus since July.

But humanitarian aid, subject to authorisation by the Syrian authorities, is only trickling in and hundreds of cases of severe malnutrition have been reported in recent weeks.

The region is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Macron also stressed “the need to renew the mandate” of investigators from the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the coming weeks, the statement said.

The UN panel known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued a report — disputed by Damascus and Moscow — last month that blamed the Syrian government for a sarin gas attack in April.

“France will not give up on the fight against impunity and the full and complete dismantling of the Syrian chemical programme,” the statement from the French president’s office said.

AFP

After Bombings,Turkey Says World Must Act Against Syria

Turkey accused a group with links to Syrian intelligence of carrying out car bombings that killed 46 people in a Turkish border town, and said on Sunday it was time for the world to act against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The two car bombs, which ripped through crowded shopping streets in Reyhanli on Saturday, increased fears that Syria’s civil war is dragging in neighboring states, despite renewed diplomatic moves to end it.

Damascus denied involvement, but Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said those behind the attacks were from an “old Marxist terrorist organization” with ties to Assad’s administration.

“It is time for the international community to act together against this regime,” he told a news conference during a visit to Berlin.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech broadcast later on Turkish television: “We will not lose our calm heads, we will not depart common sense, and we will not fall into the trap they’re trying to push us into.”

But he added: “Whoever targets Turkey will sooner or later pay the price.”

NATO-member Turkey has fired back at Syrian government forces when mortars have landed on its soil, but despite its strong words has appeared reluctant to bring its considerable military might to bear in the conflict.

It is struggling to cope with more than 300,000 refugees but is not alone in fearing the impact of Syria’s war, which is stirring the Middle East’s cauldron of sectarian, religious and nationalist struggles.

“We, like Jordan, are hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Security risks to neighboring countries are rising,” Davutoglu said.

Diplomatic Efforts

The bombings took place as prospects appeared to improve for diplomacy to try to end the war, after Moscow and Washington announced a joint effort to bring government and rebels to an international conference.

Officials from Syria’s opposition coalition, in crisis since its president resigned in March, said it would meet in Istanbul on May 23 to decide whether to participate.

A Syrian opposition group said the toll from two years of civil war had risen to at least 82,000 dead and 12,500 missing.

Syrian Information Minister Omran Zubi, speaking on state TV, held Turkey responsible for the bloodshed in Syria by aiding al Qaeda-led rebels. He said Damascus had no hand in Saturday’s bombings.

“Syria did not and will never do such a act because our values do not allow this. It is not anyone’s right to hurl unfounded accusations,” he said.

Authorities have arrested nine people, all Turkish citizens and including the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Turkey’s deputy prime minister Besir Atalay told reporters.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the bombings – the deadliest incident on Turkish soil since Syria’s war began – were carried out by a group with direct links to Syria’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency.

The blasts scattered concrete blocks and smashed cars as far as three streets away.

Local Anger

There was a heavy police and military presence on Sunday in Reyhanli, where security forces cordoned off both blast sites while bulldozers shifted the rubble and shattered glass.

Men stood loitering around the town, looking on and discussing, often heatedly, the previous day’s events.

There was palpable anger against the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the town, which has become a logistics base for the rebels fighting Assad just over the border.

As the conflict has dragged on, local people have grown increasingly resentful over stretched economic resources and the violence being brought to their door.

Some smashed Syrian car windows, and others railed against Turkey’s foreign policy.

“We don’t want the Syrians here any more. They can’t stay here. Whether we even wanted them or not, they can’t stay after this,” said a teacher in Reyhanli, who gave his name as Mustafa.

He said the prime minister’s Syria policy was to blame.

“It’s Tayyip Erdogan’s politics that have done this. Turkey should never have got involved in this mess. We have a 900-km (550-mile) border with Syria. They come and go in wherever they like. Everyone here is in fear.”

Syrian families stayed inside their homes on Sunday, too afraid to come out.

Sunni-Shitte Tensions

Davutoglu said the Reyhanli bombers were believed to be from the same group that carried out an attack on the Syrian coastal town of Banias a week ago in which at least 62 people were killed.

Syria’s conflict has fuelled confrontation across the region between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, with Shi’ite Iran supporting Assad, and Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia backing the rebels.

Israel launched air strikes a week ago, aimed at stopping Iranian missiles near Damascus from reaching Tehran’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah for possible use against the Jewish state.

Days later, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his forces would support any Syrian effort to recapture the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, raising the prospect of renewed conflict after decades of calm on that border.

In a separate development on Sunday, Syrian rebels freed four Filipino U.N. peacekeepers whom they had captured on the ceasefire line between Syria and the Golan last week.

Defiant Assad summons Syrians for “war to defend nation”

A defiant President Bashar al-Assad called on Sunday for national mobilization in a “war to defend the nation”, describing rebels fighting him as terrorists and agents of foreign powers with whom it was impossible to negotiate.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus in this still image taken from video January 6, 2013.

Appearing in an opera house in central Damascus packed with cheering supporters, the Syrian leader delivered his first speech to an audience since June last year, and his first public comments since a television interview in November.

He unveiled what he described as a peace initiative to end the 21-month-old uprising. But the proposal, including a reconciliation conference that would exclude “those who have betrayed Syria”, was certain to be rejected by enemies who have already said they will not negotiate unless he leaves power.

He spoke confidently for about an hour before a crowd of cheering loyalists, who occasionally interrupted him to shout and applaud, at one point raising their fists and chanting: “With blood and soul we sacrifice for you, O Bashar!”

At the end of the speech, supporters rushed to the stage, mobbing him and shouting: “God, Syria and Bashar is enough!” as a smiling Assad waved and was escorted from the hall.

“We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word,” Assad said in the speech. “This war targets Syria using a handful of Syrians and many foreigners. Thus, this is a war to defend the nation.”

“We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy while security and stability are absent on the streets of our country,” Assad said. “The nation is for all and we all must protect it.”

The United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria, which has brought fighting to the edge of the capital.

REUTERS

Pope appeals for peace in Nigeria and other troubled countries

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday appealed for peace in the world’s trouble spots during his Easter message, but one of the holiest days for Christians was marred by fresh violence in Nigeria and Syria.

Pope Benedict XVI gives the Urbi and Orbi blessing at the end of the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican Sunday, April 8, 2012.

Speaking before a crowd of 100,000 in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square, the pope called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria where fighting continues to claim lives.

“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community,” he said.

The pontiff also voiced hope that the thousands of refugees fleeing the crisis were given help to relieve “their dreadful sufferings.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s comments came as UN peace envoy Kofi Annan said he was shocked at the “unacceptable” escalation of violence in Syria, where 130 people were killed on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days since protests against President Bashar al Assad’s regime erupted in March last year.

At least 11 more people were killed on Sunday as Mr Assad’s regime insisted it would not pull out from cities in Syria unless there were written guarantees from rebels.

Turning to Iraq, the pope encouraged people to “spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development,” while also urging Israel and the Palestinians to “courageously take up a new the peace process.”

He also called for peace and stability to return to Mali after a military coup last month and condemned the “savage terrorist attacks” on Christian churches in Nigeria.

“To Nigeria, which in recent times has experienced savage terrorist attacks, may the joy of Easter grant the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of its citizens,” the pope said.

His words came as at least 20 people were killed in northern Nigeria after a car bombing outside a Christian church while an Easter service was being held inside.

Assad has no Future: German Foreign Minister

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been asked to step down so as to make way for peacful transition for he has no future in Syria, the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said after a Munich conference.

Assad has no Future: German Foreign Minister

This was coming a day after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution calling for Assad to step down.

Westerwelle said talks will be opened with the Russian government once again by the week so as to foster an understanding of the situation on the Russian side and perhaps allow movement.

At the Munich Security Conference largely condemned the Russo-China decision,Westerwelle assured they will be going back to United Nations Security Council as he said the decision for the veto was a wrong footing as new discussions will be opened especially with the Arab League.

According to Reuters report,the changes proposed by Russia, would have introduced language assigning blame to Syria’s opposition, as well as the government, for violence in which the United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died.

The other 13 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which would have said that the council “fully supports” the Arab League plan aimed at ending 11 months of bloodshed as Syria has sought to crush an anti-Assad uprising.

This is the second time that permanent members Russia and China have exercised a double veto on the Syria issue. In October, they vetoed a European-drafted resolution condemning Syria and threatening it with possible sanctions.

It was already pre-meditated that China will follow Russia’s lead and the decision to veto the text came from Moscow. Russia had complained that the draft resolution was an attempt at “regime change” in Syria, Moscow’s close ally and a key Russian weapons export destination.

Russia’s decision to vote against the resolution came after U.S. and European officials rejected a series of Russian amendments to the draft resolution that Rice said were “unacceptable.”