From Bradley Klapper, the AP: The Obama administration said Tuesday that Russia is sending attack helicopters to Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s regime and warned that the Arab country’s 15-month conflict could become even deadlier.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. was "concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria."
She said the shipment "will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. . . ."
On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland decried what she called "horrific new tactics" by Syrian forces, including the use of helicopters to fire on civilians from the air. She called the attacks a "very serious escalation" and said Syrian commanders would be held responsible for any crimes against humanity.
Clinton, as well, warned about a massing of Syrian forces near Aleppo over the last two days, saying such a deployment could be a "red line" for Syria’s northern neighbor Turkey "in terms of their strategic and national interests." (photo: hyeclub.com)
From Arshad Mohammed and Phil Stewart, Reuters: "We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria. They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry – everything they are shipping is unrelated to their (the Syrian government’s) actions internally. That’s patently untrue," Clinton said at an appearance organized by a think tank.
UPDATE: From Hillary Clinton, Department of State: We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria. They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry; everything they’re shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That’s patently untrue. And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. There seems to be a massing of Syrian forces around Aleppo that we’ve gotten information about over the last 24, 48 hours. That could very well be a redline for the Turks in terms of their strategic and national interests, so we’re watching this very carefully.
Excerpt from remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during joint presentation with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Hay Adams Hotel.