Friday, March 02, 2012

Russians communicating with Syrian opposition through Druze Knesset member!

From Arutz-7, February 22:

A Syrian opposition figure confronted a Russian diplomat through Internet telephony program Skype Wednesday.

The unusual conversation took place when Russian Ambassador to Israel Sergei Yakovlev was holding a meeting with Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara in Kara's Knesset office. Arutz Sheva's Hezki Ezra was on hand to provide exclusive video coverage.

In the course of the meeting between the two politicians, Kara's aides added an unnamed Syrian opposition leader to the conversation, through Skype.

"I just want to pass this message from the Syrian opposition to the Russian leadership through you," said the Syrian.

"OK," said the Russian – "Why don't you do [that] through the Russian ambassador in Damascus?"

"Because I can't reach him," explained the Syrian opposition man. "If I come close to the Russian embassy in Damascus, I will be shot dead. Because there are snipers. Iranian snipers now cover the top of the Russian embassy in Damascus. You can ask your colleague in Damascus and he can tell you what is going on there."

Yakovlev said little in response, except an occasional "uh huh."

"Mr. Ambassador, please pass this to your leadership," the Syrian went on. "Don't be surprised, if you find the names of the high leaders in Russia in a file being introduced to the international tribunal… Russia is sharing with everything in doing this crime. Arms, diplomacy […], intelligence help, and the military experts who are now leading the cannons of Bashar al-Assad."

"We are ready to discuss things with both sides," Yakovlev told Kara after the opposition leader had gone offline. "The Friends of Syria will meet on the 24th in Tunisia [an international forum in which the U.S. and European countries will be represented, but not the Syrian National Council opposition -- ed.]. Why to discuss it only with the opposition, not with the government? This is no way to peace, friend. If you talk to one side, if you strengthen one side, then it will be a fight for, I don’t know, forever."

According to Israeli site Megafon, there was a seemingly different meeting a few days later, also in Kara's office, between Yakovlev and two members of the Syrian opposition - in person. The ambassador started to indicate that Russian support for Assad is wavering, saying that he should or will be "lifted" from office.

The two unnamed opposition figures discussed various scenarios after Assad's removal, including elections or dividing Syria into Sunni and non-Sunni states. They discussed Russia's possible role afterwards as well.

When Megafon asked Kara about this meeting, he said that there was only the one through Skype, The sound of the second video seems like the conversation was in person, though. On the other hand, the Russian ambassador is wearing the same tie, so maybe it was the same meeting, or a different part where he was speaking to Ayoub's aides.

(h/t Ron)