Putin warns West not to arm organ-eating Syrian rebels

LONDON Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:13pm EDT

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Downing Street, in central London June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Downing Street, in central London June 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned on Sunday why the West would want to arm Syrian rebels who he said ate human organs, saying plans to give them weapons contradicted basic human values.

Speaking after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron in London ahead of a G8 summit on Monday, Putin said both the Syrian government and Syrian rebels were to blame for the bloodshed.

"You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support?," Putin told a news conference.

"Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years."

Putin was referring to disturbing video footage on the Internet of one rebel fighter eating what appeared to be the heart of a government soldier.

The talks followed a decision by President Barack Obama's administration to arm rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad after it said it had obtained proof that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.

The Russian leader, who arrived an hour late for the talks, said he wanted to help broker a peace deal for Syria, saying he hoped the G8 summit in Northern Ireland could help advance that process.

But Cameron said big differences over how to best achieve that aim remained between Britain and Russia.

"There are very big differences between the analysis we have of what happened in Syria and who is to blame but where there is common ground is that we both see a humanitarian catastrophe", Cameron said.

However, Cameron added he thought the differences were not insurmountable.

"What I take from our conversation today is that we can overcome these differences if we recognize that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them," he said.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Costas Pitas and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Andrew Osborn)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
branchltd wrote:
Putin is arming the Syrians so he should shut his mouth and go back to his hole.

Jun 16, 2013 1:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
branchltd wrote:
Putin is arming the Syrians so he should shut his mouth and go back to his hole.

Jun 16, 2013 1:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
oxen wrote:
Birds of a feather! UK committed plenty of crimes in its quest to colonize the world. The rebel savagery actions pale in comparison to what the British and French did to local populations in various places–the British and French applied scotch earth policy, killed humans, farm animals and destroyed plantations and food storage for many innocents–very savage indeed, and what Cameron is supporting is in consonance to his predecessors. On behalf of the British people,Cameron is saying : “we are savages and we support savages” The good thing, parliament is taking him to task for such a backward approach of exhibiting/appying barbaric behaviours of long ago!

Jun 16, 2013 3:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus