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Rising tensions stoke Syrian crisis

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Rising tensions stoke Syrian crisis


Iran says allowing the arms embargo on Syria to expire will bring terrorists “a few thousand kilometres closer” to the EU’s borders.

The comment, by a Foreign Ministry spokesman, is the first by an Iranian official since Brussels failed to reach agreement on extending its ban.

The news has prompted others to act.

Russia insists it will sell Syria an air defence system despite western opposition.

Moscow also says ending the EU ban will complicate plans for peace talks in Geneva.

For some, this resembles a return to the old days of the cold war: “We have long said that we disagree with and we condemn the continued supply of Russian weapons to the regime. And this includes all class of weapons, and we’ve been clear throughout and very direct with the Russian government about that,” US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters at a White House briefing.

Israel fears arms sold to Syria will end up in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or arch-enemy Iran.

As the Israeli military flexed its muscles in air, land and sea manoeuvres, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that his country will respond accordingly.

In Syria, rebel fighters are continuing their struggle with just basic equipment. In one video, said to be from Daraa, they appear to have no body armour or helmets.

For these people, the August EU decision date to begin arms sales must seem a very long way off.

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