Assad Says Missiles Are There; Rebels Said To Balk At Talks
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."