Syria arms imports surge, most provided by Russia (REUTERS) Reporting by Mia Shanley; Editing by Mark Heinrich STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN 03/19/12 9:36am EDT)
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(Reuters) - Arms deliveries to Syria surged almost 600 percent from
2007 to 2011 compared with the previous five years, a leading think
tank said on Monday, with Russia supplying the bulk of the country´s
The report underlined how Moscow has continued to supply Syria with
firepower while the United States, European Union and others have
imposed arms embargoes in response to Syrian President Bashar al-
Assad´s bloody crackdown on unrest.
World powers have been unable to stop more than a year of bloodshed
in Syria, a country that sits on the fault lines of several regional
and ethnic conflicts. Recent army gains against rebel positions have
not succeeded in quelling the violence and no negotiated settlement
is in sight.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said
Russia had supplied 78 percent of Syria´s weapons imports during the
past five years, contributing to a 580 percent increase in the volume
of arms imports by Syria.
"The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has
provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier
states," said Mark Bromley, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms
"However, the impact of these debates on states´ arms export policies
has, up to now, been limited."
Global arms transfers in the period rose by almost a quarter. The
five largest importers were all Asian states, with Asia and Oceania
accounting for 44 percent of purchases, followed by Europe at 19
percent, the Middle East at 17 percent, the Americas 11 percent and
Africa 9 percent.
India was the world´s single largest importer of arms, accounting for
10 percent of the total, followed by South Korea, Pakistan, China and
Singapore. China, the largest recipient of arms during the previous
2002-2006 period, fell in the rankings due to increased domestic
SIPRI uses a system which attempts to measure volume rather than the
financial value of weapons transfers. It does this by using a
methodology which intends instead to represent the transfer of
military resources. (Reporting by Mia Shanley; Editing by Mark
Heinrich) (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 03/19/12)
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