Our Story Happens Here
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
NPR News

UPDATE: Russian Missiles 'Months Away' From Delivery To Syria

Update at 7 a.m. ET, May 31:

Since we first posted about the reports of what Syrian President Bashar Assad said regarding the delivery to his military of Russian anti-aircraft missiles, new reports have surfaced:

-- "Russian S-300 missiles unlikely to reach Syria for months." ( Reuters)

-- "Assad interview fuels missile confusion." ( ABC News)

Our original post, from 10:40 a.m. ET May 30:

-- Missiles. Syrian President Bashar Assad has told Al-Manar TV, a channel owned by Lebanon's Hezbollah, that the first shipment of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles has arrived in Syria, The Guardian reports.

As we wrote Tuesday, "the European Union's decision to end its embargo on arming the opposition in Syria has been followed by sharp criticism from Russia's foreign ministry and word that Russia will follow through on plans to deliver anti-aircraft missiles to President Bashar Assad's military."

-- Talks. "Syria's opposition will not participate in proposed international peace talks in Geneva next month, its leader has said." That report from al-Jazeera adds that "George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), on Thursday said the opposition was suspending their participation until the international community intervened to end the siege in Qusayr, a town in Homs province near the Lebanese border."

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, "Russian, U.S. and U.N. officials will meet next week to discuss ways to bring the warring sides in Syria together for a peace conference, Russian news agencies quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying on Thursday. 'Preparations for the international conference on Syria will be discussed' at the three-way meeting in Geneva on June 5, Interfax quoted the unidentified Russian ministry source as saying."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Related Content
  • Although the European Union is lifting its embargo, EU nations say they do not now have plans to send arms to those fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Still, Russia is critical of the decision and says it will follow through on plans to send additional arms to Assad's military.
  • But Britain has "no immediate plans to send arms to Syria," says Foreign Secretary William Hague. The EU will continue its sanctions against Bashar Assad's government, which had been set to expire on June 1, Hague said.
  • Syria's war has polarized the country. But as in many conflicts, a large portion of the population just wants to keep their heads down and stay out of harm's way. A visit to the Sayida Zeinab shrine offers a look into the complicated nature of the war.
  • There's fear and frustration in the capital, but even people who acknowledge President Bashar Assad's flaws often grimly hope for the rebels to go away: They believe the government's description of the rebels as terrorists and foreigners out to destroy the country.