Moscow Probes Damascus Embassy Mortar Incident

MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is investigating whether mortar bombs which landed near the Russian Embassy in Damascus on Tuesday were intended to kill Russians, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Five shells hit the Al-Adwi district of Damascus, where the Russian Embassy is located, killing a civilian and injuring a Syrian security officer. No embassy staff were hurt in the attack.

“An investigation is ongoing to find out whether the shelling attacks were the gunmen’s deliberate actions aimed against Russian nationals and the interests of Syria,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

The Syrian armed opposition has demanded Russia stop trying to “prevent international intervention” in Syria, according to a statement sent to the UN Security Council on Monday by the head of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idris.

The statement came after Russia blocked a UK-drafted resolution criticizing the Syrian regime’s offensive in the strategic town of Qusair in Syria, calling it “unilateral” and “not reflecting the real situation in Syria, particularly in Qusair.” A diplomat said Moscow blocked the resolution as the UN had failed to make a statement when the rebels seized the town.

“The use of the veto in the UN Security Council reaffirms the course of Moscow in support of Assad. Russia continues to supply weapons to Syria, which is used to kill innocent people,” the official website of the National Coalition opposition said.

Syria announced on Tuesday that pro-government forces have taken full control of the strategic town of Qusair, which is close to the border with Lebanon. According to UN figures, some 1,500 wounded civilians are trapped in the besieged town.

Syria has been locked in an increasingly bloody civil war since demonstrations broke out against the Assad regime in March 2011. According to UN, about 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict.


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