Russia Says Qaida behind Syria Attacks

Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 23:07
Al-Qaida and its associates are behind the recent bomb attacks in Syria, the Russian foreign ministry said Monday.

''For us it is absolutely clear that terrorist groups are behind this -- al-Qaida and those groups that work with al-Qaida,'' Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters.

Twin suicide bombings in Damascus last week killed 55 people and wounded 372, raising fears that extremist elements were taking advantage of the deadlock in Syria to stoke the unrest.

Analysts said that the entry of al-Qaida into the standoff between the government and opposition rebels is a hugely troubling development that raises the spectra of violence like that endured by Iraq after the U.S. invasion.

Gatilov, whose country has vehemently resisted Western pressure to take a harder stance against Bashar Assad's regime, said it was unlikely in the current circumstances that the opposition and government would negotiate.

''It is hard to say how things will go from here. In the immediate term the prospects of the sides sitting down at the negotiating table are not there.''

Gatilov warned that the standoff could become a long-drawn-out conflict between two sides, neither of which are strong enough to inflict a final defeat on the other.

''This standoff is becoming a long-term situation and it is hard to say how long it will go on,'' he said.

''We have a situation where there is a certain balance between government forces and opposition groups. The worst outcome is for this stagnation to continue.''

Source:Agence France Presse
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