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Syria: Russian presence poses challenge for US

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Published on Dec 24, 2012

Reports have emerged that Russian military advisers have been involved in operating some of Syria's more sophisticated air defences. Accroding to The Guardian, Moscow has sent personnel along with new surface-to-air systems to assist President of Bashar al-Assad as he battles a continuing rebel uprising in the Middle East state. Such involvement would pose a challenge to any US-led intervention, an idea that has been suggested in the past as a way of resolving the 21-month long crisis. A recent poll in the US by the Washington Post and ABC news suggested that the majority of Americans would support US intervention only if the Syrian government either used or lost control of their stockpile of chemical weapons — known to be among the world's largest.

Western powers are under increasing pressure to act as the daily atrocities continue. Yesterday this graphic video was released of an air strike on a bakery in war-torn Hama province of Syria has killed dozens of people and wounded several others. At least a thousand people are believed to have been outside the building, trying to buy bread in the current food shortage when the rockets struck. According to activists' estimates, up to 200 people were killed, making it one of the deadliest attacks of the civil war.

The UN and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimki has arrived in Syria to speak with President Assad over finding a peaceful solution to the civil war. The veteran Algerian diplomat has called for ceasefires in the past but they have been ignored by both sides.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner

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