Robert Ford: Russia, Iran aiding Assad regime

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Russia and Iran continue to arm and supply Syria’s Assad regime, U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford wrote Friday. Ford, who was pulled from Damascus late last year over security concerns, also posted satellite images of Haoula, Syria, taken May 18 and May 28th, 2012. The more recent image (above right) “shows that the ground had been recently disturbed,” Ford wrote, suggesting possible digging of a mass grave:

To echo what Secretary Clinton said yesterday, the violent situation in Syria is a destabilizing force in the region. Russia continues to supply the Syrian military with arms. We all know that the Iranian regime’s interests are deeply embedded in the Assad regime’s survival – it is directly supporting the Syrian government through lethal and non-lethal means, and its revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) and intelligence services are coaching the Syrian military. The IRGC’s Qods force, which takes explicit instruction from the Iranian regime, appears to be helping set up the sectarian government-affiliated militias in Syria commonly referred to as the Shabiha. On the other hand, Syria’s neighbors like Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon are concerned about the role this conflict will play in their countries. Therefore, we call on the Syrian regime implement all other elements of Annan’s six-point plan so that a political process can begin to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.