http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Sep-06/148012-russia-to-oppose-any-moves-to-arm-syrian-opposition.ashx#axzz1X9hCSDzV Russia Will Not Allow U.S and NATO to Arm Syrian Rebels - - Conflit With Russia Coming Over Syria - According to Western diplomats and political observers watching the developments in Syria, the next stage of the international community’s response to events in Damascus will move from supporting the people’s uprising and condemning the oppression of the regime by waving the stick of economic and financial sanctions – including the travel ban on political officials who have been blacklisted – to arming the Syrian opposition, similar to what was done in Libya. The U.S., France and Britain will participate in strengthening the military side of the opposition in Syria to create a balance with the security apparatus controlled by President Bashar Assad and his regime. It’s likely that Turkey will spearhead the operation to arm the opposition given the overlap of political, geographic and demographic factors between it and Damascus, which have led Ankara, more than once, to show its discontent with the Syrian regime’s elusive promises of reform.However, diplomatic sources expect that this course would face the objection of Russia, which has previously rejected draft resolutions against Syria by using its veto in the U.N. Security Council and opposing the Western community by dealing unilaterally with Syria.The sources explain the reasons behind Russia’s rejection of the West’s evolving response and their opposition to the consensus of the international community on the battle between the Syrian regime and the opposition:First, the Russians have decided not to fall again for the trick they encountered when NATO failed to uphold its commitment to Resolution 1973 – which limited the mission in Libya to a narrow framework of protecting civilians from aerial bombardments by Libyan forces – by expanding their mission to strike Gadhafi’s positions and supporting rebels’ military operations.These sources also speak of the struggle over the Middle East in which geo-strategic weapons – from oil to expanding political influence to strengthening military bases – are used and such actions would advance any country’s position internationally. Russia has a military base in the city of Tartus which it will never give up and is protected by Assad’s regime. If the opposition backed by the West takes power, it will constitute a real threat to the base. The main reason for Russia’s increasing opposition to Western intervention in Syria, the sources say, is receiving a negative signal from Turkey which has approved a NATO missile defense radar to be installed on its territory, directed against Russia and Iran. The step could cause tension between Iran and Russia, and Turkey, which is trying to distract attention from this decision by expelling the Israeli ambassador more than a year after the Gaza Flotilla incident. It’s also known that Turkey is attempting, with the ruling Justice and Development Party, to fill the role of Saudi Arabia as a patron for the Sunni presence in the region in opposition to Iranian influence. This raises Russian suspicions that the U.S. is behind the scheme.It’s also been revealed that there is a geopolitical gain behind Russia’s haste to confront any U.N. resolution to intervene in Syria as its common interests with Syrian and Iran will make the U.S. and its allies think twice before pursuing any action on the ground.