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Report: Syria Imported 6 Times More Weapons Between 2007-2011 (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 03/19/12)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153891#.T2bKHsWO2So INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Syria imported nearly six times more weapons between the years 2007 and 2011 than in the previous five-year period, an international research institute said on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Russia accounted for 72 percent of the arms supplies to President Bashar Assad´s regime, according to the report on global arms transfers by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report highlighted how Moscow continues to provide Syria with weapons even as the U.S., the European Union and others impose arms embargoes due to the regime´s violent crackdown on protesters.

AP noted the report did not specify the volume of weapons exports after the start of the uprising in 2011.

Major Russian arms deliveries to Syria in 2007-2011 included air defense systems and anti-ship missiles, which have no direct use in the current unrest in the Arab state but have upgraded the regime´s capability to defend against outside intervention, according to SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman.

“They increase the risks involved in and therefore the threshold for foreign military intervention like the NATO operation against the Qaddafi regime” in Libya, Wezeman told AP.

Syria has outstanding orders for 25 Russian MIG-29 combat aircraft, and in late 2011 Russia signed a $550 million deal for 36 Yak-130 light combat aircraft, Wezemen added, noting that questions remain about the timing of the deliveries and Syria´s ability to pay for them.

“However, when delivered the combat aircraft would augment the Syrian military´s capabilities to attack rebel positions if the conflict develops in a similar way as the conflict in e.g. Libya developed,” Wezeman told AP.

Syria is Russia´s last ally in the Arab world dating back to the Soviet era and provides Russia with its only year-round warm water port outside of the Black Sea.

Moscow has billions of dollars in oil and weapons contracts tied to Assad´s regime – and has adamantly refused to stop arms sales despite emergent reports of war crimes by Syrian troops.

Over the weekend, dozens of civilians and soldiers were killed and wounded in multiple explosions in Damascus and elsewhere in Syria. Rebels and the Assad regime blamed each other for the attacks.

The popular uprising in the country entered its second year last Thursday, as the death toll from Assad´s bloody crackdown fast approaches 9,000. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/19/12)

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