Russia’s foreign minister on Saturday warned that any effort by the U.S. and its allies to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would violate international law.
Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow with his Italian counterpart, referred to “leaks from Western media” that U.S. F-16 fighters and Patriot missile in Jordon might be used in neighboring Syria to suppress government forces fighting insurgents there.
“You don’t have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law,” Lavrov said.
Moscow has long been a close ally of the Syrian regime and amid earlier talk of the possibility of a no-fly zone against President Bashar al-Assad’s military, Russia pledged to deliver surface-to-air missiles and additional MiG-29 fighters to Damascus.
The White House this week said the U.S. would begin sending military support to the rebels after it was determined that the Syrian government used deadly sarin gas on its own people. The Wall Street Journal reported that a limited no-fly zone was among the options being actively considered.
Lavrov also said Saturday that the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons use cited by the U.S. is not reliable and doesn’t meet requirements of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
He said the organization specifies that samples taken from blood, urine and clothing can be considered reliable evidence only if supervised by organization experts from the time they are taken up to delivery to a laboratory, The Associated Press reports.