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MOSCOW, January 17 (Itar-Tass) —— The Arab observation mission in Syria is changing the opinion of the League of Arab States (LAS) about the Syrian events, Federation Council Vice-Speaker Ilyas Umakhanov told the Syrian ambassador to Moscow on Tuesday.
“We can see a diversity of opinions at the LAS, the consolidated position is gone. Observers have seen the Syrian events by their own eyes and changed their point of view. It is hard to judge the real situation by the media only. I am glad that the observers have maximally impartial views,” Umakhanov said.
“It is important to present the contradictory and complex processes in Syria to the international community. It would be unfair and dangerous to link all the local problems only to the actions of the Syrian authorities, especially as Western states are not very optimistic about the election results and processes in countries neighboring Syria, which have lived through radical transformations,” he said.
The ambassador said that the LAS observers had been working busily and visiting various cities, not just Damascus, as well as hospitals and prisons.
“The first oral report has been made to the LAS. Then the LAS admitted for the first time that terrorist elements, armed people and mercenaries were acting in Syria,” the ambassador said.
Russia fears that the activity of paramilitary groups in Syria may be used as a pretext for external interference in Syrian affairs, Umakhanov said.
“The Syrian authorities are taking enormous efforts to keep the situation under control. Paramilitary groups and gangs, which are partially funded from abroad, destabilize the situation,” Umakhanov said. He said referring to his meetings in Syria in September 2011 that the gangs were not made up solely of Syrians.
“Russia is concerned over the militarization of the conflict. We fear that it may be used as a pretext for external interference in Syria,” he noted.
Umakhanov thinks though that Syria cannot replicate the Libyan scenario. “However, forces seeking destabilization continue their attempts to take advantage of the tensions,” he said.