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Clinton says Russia is sending gunships to Syria, could escalate conflict ‘quite dramatically’

Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube
NBC News [1]
June 13, 2012

Russia is sending a new shipment of helicopter gunships to Syria, a move that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday could escalate the conflict “quite dramatically.”

Syria already has a fleet of the Russian gunships which are armed with rockets, cannons and heavy machine guns.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is one of Russia’s main weapons customers, according to Reuters [2], and Moscow sold a large shipment to the country as recently as mid-May.

Russia’s business relationship with Syria has presented a problem on the U.N. Security Council, which has been seeking a unified stance in confronting the Assad regime. Russia along with China — two of the council’s five permanent members — has been reluctant to admonish the Syrian leader, despite the growing bloody toll in a conflict that a U.N. official said Tuesday had all the characteristics of a civil war [3].

Full article here [1]