Russia Warns of "Big War" Over Syria
July 6, 2012 • 8:24AM

Moscow lashed out July 5 at the London-Obama position on Syria, saying it could aggravate the situation to the point of war. "Their position is most likely to exacerbate the situation, lead to further violence and ultimately a very big war," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to RIA-Novosti.

And when German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle suggested to Lavrov the same day that Russia could supposedly end the Syria crisis by offering asylum to President Bashar Assad, Lavrov responded publicly that he had heard the same suggestion earlier from the Obama Administration, but had dismissed it as a "joke."

At the same time, a meeting in Cairo called to unify the Syrian opposition ended Wednesday, July 4, in fistfights and chaos, Agence France Presse reported. The Syrian Kurdish National Council and some other groups walked out.

Nonetheless, London's so-called "Friends of Syria" grouping of dupes—really no friends at all—are to meet again in Paris on Friday, July 6. China and Russia again refused invitations, and Lavrov said that the meeting is "unnecessary."

Syrian President Bashar Assad gave a lengthy interview to the Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper which it published in three installments, concluding on July 5. Five Turkish media had asked for a joint interview, but after Assad agreed to it, Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan had pressured them to back out; as a result, only Cumhuriyet went through with the interview. All three parts of the interview have been published in English by Syria's official news agency, SANA.

Among the most interesting revelations: when the Syrians downed a Turkish plane in their airspace recently, the Turkish military command which Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood government had installed after jailing Turkey's generals, had already broken off all military-to-military ties with Syria six months earlier. "Now the Syrian military establishment doesn't have the phone numbers of the Turkish military if they wanted to communicate with them for any emergency. When we tried to contact them earlier through the military attaché, he said that contacts should be made through the Foreign Ministry," Assad said.

Elsewhere in the interview, Assad said that Erdogan "wanted the terrorists to have a free hand in Syria, that they shouldn't be arrested or imprisoned, and that we do not defend ourselves."

In response, Cumhuriyet asked, "What do you mean by the terrorists? Do you mean the Muslim Brotherhood?"

To which Assad answered, "Years before the crisis, Erdogan was always concerned for the Syrian Muslim Brothers. He was concerned about them more than he was concerned about Syrian-Turkish relations. There is no doubt now that they are one of his main concerns in the Syrian events, namely defending and helping them. Of course, we do not allow this, neither for Erdogan's sake nor for the sake of anyone else in the world."

To prove that the Syrian people support him, Bashar noted that the Shah of Iran had had the most powerful army in the area and powerful allies, yet the Iranian people threw him out. Now he, Assad, is opposed by all the major Western countries. Clearly, if the Syrian people didn't support him, he too would have long since been ousted from the Presidency.