Russia ‘actively engaged’ in Syrian war, Israeli source says

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An Israeli security source said that Russia is actively engaged in the Syrian conflict helping Syrian troops by providing intelligence-gathering technology, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

“Russia is effectively and actively engaged [in the Syria conflict] beside the army of the Syrian regime by [providing] drones that are collecting information and data and relaying them to Syrian troops,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

The news comes on the heels of Russia’s statement that it would not allow for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Syria, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday, according to Reuters.

“I think we fundamentally will not allow this scenario,” Lukashevich told a news briefing, adding that calls for a no-fly zone equated to disrespect for international law.

Both Russia and the U.S. are making efforts to bring representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his foes to the negotiating table, however Moscow has condemned American plans to arm rebel forces and to consider a no-fly zone, reported Reuters.

The Syrian crisis is expected to dominate the G8 summit being held in Ireland on Monday and Tuesday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is chairing the summit, noted that there was “a big difference” between the positions of Russia and the West on the manner in which the war should be resolved.

Russian President Putin has described anti-Assad rebels as cannibals who ate human flesh and has warned Obama of the dangers of giving weapons to such people, following the U.S.’s decision increase military aid to Syria’s opposition forces.

For their part, Western leaders have criticized Russia, seen as Syria’s most powerful ally, for sending weapons to Assad’s forces and considering deliveries of sophisticated s-300 air defense system to Syria.

“How can we allow that Russia continues to deliver arms to the Bashar al-Assad regime when the opposition receives very few and is being massacred?” French President Francois Hollande said, according to Reuters.

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