As violence in Syria morphs into a full-fledged civil war, more and more international voices, including some Israelis, are accusing Russia of abetting the regime of Bashar Assad in killing civilians. Demonstrations took place across from Russian embassies worldwide Wednesday, demanding that Russia stop its political and military support for Assad.
The Syrian National Council, the country’s main opposition group, called on Syrian citizens to take part in a coordinated demonstration across Russian embassies worldwide at 4 p.m. Wednesday, London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported. The call followed a verbal attack on Russia by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday for sending fighter helicopters to aid the Syrian regime.
In Tel Aviv, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the Hilton hotel Tuesday where Russian independence day celebrations were being held. The demonstrators chanted “you celebrate while children are massacred” and held signs reading “Assad, let your people live,” and “the Russian government is an accomplice to murders.”
‘Syrians won’t agree to the Yemeni model,’ Kara said. ‘Assad must be overthrown.’
Likud Member of Knesset Ayoub Kara said he was invited to the Russian party but decided to boycott it “in order to send a message to the Kremlin that it is culpable for the death of thousands.”
“This is a proper genocide. If one day the matter will be brought to the [International Criminal Court in the] Hague, Russia will be included,” Kara told The Times of Israel. “If it were not for Russia, Assad would be long gone.”
Kara said that the Libyan model of military intervention by Western powers is more appropriate for Syria than the Yemeni model, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh was coaxed into stepping down by Arab Gulf states.
“Syrians won’t agree to the Yemeni model,” Kara said. “Assad must be overthrown.”
One demonstrator directly accused President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s stance on Syria. Boaz David, an Ashkelon resident who emigrated to Israel from Russia as a child, said Russia was itself quickly deteriorating into an authoritarian regime.
“A few friends of mine in Russia participated today in a million-man demonstration against Putin. He has become a tyrant,” he told The Times of Israel. “Since Putin came to power in 2000 Russia has decided to help all the remaining dictators of the world. Russia wants to become the empire of evil, as Ronald Reagan called it, and we’re against that.”
Some demonstrators admitted to having limited understanding of the political intricacies of the Syria-Russia alliance, but said the humanitarian situation has become unbearable.
“We are within walking distance of Syria,” said Baruch Oren, a social activist from Givat Ada. “I have no idea what Russia’s motives are, I just want the killing to stop.”
‘Since Putin came to power in 2000 Russia has decided to help all the remaining dictators of the world. Russia wants to become the empire of evil, as Ronald Reagan called it.’
MK Kara said the Israeli government has tried to find ways of sending humanitarian aid to Syria, but was unable to do so.
“The government was unable to find appropriate channels for sending doctors, baby food and other basic needs. Assad is blocking the borders and denying access to humanitarian aid.”