Russia defends Assad’s Aleppo offensive amid reports of artillery, aerial attacks

Sergey Lavrov says beleaguered Syrian president can’t be expected to hand over country to rebel hands; rights group says Assad forces using heavy arms in Syria’s second largest city.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday defended the Syrian government’s military offensive against rebels in Aleppo.

“How can one expect that the Syrian government will say, ‘Yes go ahead, overthrow me,'” Lavrov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

“The price of all this is still more blood,” he said, in reference to Western support for the armed struggle against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Lavrov’s comments came as human rights activists reported earlier in the day that Assad’s forces launched an attack against rebel forces in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city.

Rami Abdul Rahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported Saturday morning that clashes had begun in various neighborhoods throughout Aleppo, with heavy exchanges of fire in the Salah ad-Din district. According to Rahman, the Syrian army is using heavy artillery and airborne attacks indiscriminately.

The city of Aleppo is of great strategic importance for both the Syrian regime and the rebels. Syrian government forces believe that retaking Aleppo, an important buffer zone in northeastern Syria, could tip the scales in the Syrian regime’s favor following the recent recapturing of Damascus.

On Saturday morning, reports surfaced from Syria claiming that roughly 30 people were killed, mostly in Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.

Earlier, on Friday night, the Syrian ambassador to Belarus Farouq Taha declared his decision to defect from Assad’s regime, claiming that he has opposed the regime’s suppression of the protests for roughly seven months, but as of yet was unable to make it known publicly.

According to Taha, the Syrian regime does not hesitate to harm the families of diplomats, who oppose government policy. Taha also called on other diplomats to declare their intention to defect, claiming that the current silence from diplomats has begun to border on treason against the Syrian people.

Taha is considered one of the most senior Syrian diplomats, with 44 years of experience in the country’s foreign ministry.

Also on Friday, Syrian MP Ikhlas Badawi, defected and fled to Turkey, in protest of what she described as the monstrous suppression of the Syrian people.

  1. #1 by Peter on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    Indeed. I could only imagine what the US Govt. would do if there were heavily armed groups within the US who were trying to overthrow it. Our govt. would bring out the heaviest of artilarry and wouldn’t be shy in using it. Peter

  2. #2 by Ingrid B on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    Wasn`t Taha exposed as a traitor to Syria? the parasites are really enjoying the carnage..

  3. #3 by michael mazur on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    Notice the constant Haaretz drumbeat terminology: rebels ; human rights activists, and one of these is a woman, frizzy light hair, clearly Israeli, waxing indignant when she speaks. Didn’t see her in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 08/09 when the phosphorous was being dropped on Gazans.

    I seem to recall that these `human rights activists` are at their most active when trying to stick a massacre of women and children by `rebels` to the Syrian govt.

    Haaretz are warmongers – pure and simple, shaped charge reportage, to advance the agenda of getting US/NATO to assault yet another of Israel’s targets, like they did for Afghanistan and Iraq post 911.

    Not a word here about `rebels` being found with Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, Libyan, Chechyan passports.

  4. #4 by Adalberto Erazo Jr. on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    Interview with Mark Dankof on presstv

    US, Israel plan Assad removal to hurt Iran: Analyst

  5. #5 by ruby22-kate on 07/29/2012 - 9:34

    Yes if any group dared to defy the US I’m sure there would be indiscriminate bombing, tanks on every street, etc. We had a preview two winters ago, when there was an unusual blizzard & inches of packed snow – we saw national guard jeeps with 4 armed military on every corner.

    We were told they were here to help, but imo all they did was observe.

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