The report comes after weeks of heated speculation about Russian warships steaming for Syria and Russian weapons deliveries for the beleaguered government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime Kremlin ally.

Moscow and Washington clashed heatedly last week about a supposed delivery of Russian attack helicopters to Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton contended that the helicopters would “escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”

Russia said any weaponry being sold to Syria was designed against external threats and could not be deployed against rebels. Russia said no new helicopters were being sent to Syria, but that “scheduled repairs of hardware that was supplied to Syria many years ago” had been carried out.

Assad’s government has been accused of brutally repressing the 15-month-old rebellion. Assad says his nation is battling “terrorists” and a “foreign conspiracy.”


LA Times