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Assad slams foreign help to ‘terrorists’

(AFP) / 20 February 2012

President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that foreign parties were funding “armed terrorist groups” to destabilise Syria and intent on blocking any political solution

DAMASCUS — President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that foreign parties were funding “armed terrorist groups” to destabilise Syria and intent on blocking any political solution, the state news agency SANA reported.

It said the embattled president made the accusation in a meeting with a visiting top Russian MP, Alexei Pushkov, head of the international affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament.

Assad thanked Russia for its support of his country which he said was being “targeted by armed terrorist groups receiving funding and arms from foreign parties, aiming to destabilise Syria,” SANA reported.

The same parties were determined “to block all efforts to reach a solution, especially with the reforms being brought in,” he added.

Russia is a close ally of Damascus, which is under mounting Arab and international pressure to end its crackdown on pro-democracy protests that activists say has killed more than 6,000 people since March 2011.

Moscow and Beijing earlier this month vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the violence by Assad’s regime, an action which earned Moscow a tirade of criticism from the West.

The visit by Pushkov, a member of the ruling United Russia party and former television commentator, comes after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks in Damascus earlier this month with Assad.

 
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