Russia's Syria policy could lead to civil war: Clinton
Copenhagen, June 1 (IANS) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Russia that its refusal to sanction UN action against Syria could see the outbreak of a civil war in the Middle East country, RIA Novosti reported.
The Russians "are telling me they don't want to see a civil war. I have been telling them their policy is going to help to contribute to a civil war," Clinton said Thursday during a visit to the Danish capital.
"The Syrians are not going to listen to us. They will listen maybe to the Russians, so we have to keep pushing them," she said.
UN Security Council veto-wielding members Russia and China have twice vetoed sanctions against Syria. Russia accuses the West of a pro-rebel bias and says it is trying to bring about regime change in Damascus.
Moscow has also criticised proposals by Western powers to arm Syrian rebels, saying this would merely prolong the conflict.
Clinton said the lack of a UN mandate for action in Syria meant the current hostilities there "could morph into a civil war in a country that would be driven by sectarian divides, which then could morph into a proxy war in the region".
"Remember you have Iran deeply embedded in Syria -- their military are coaching the Syrian military. We know it actually could get much worse than it is," she said.
Clinton's comments came after US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said military intervention by the international community in Syria without UN approval was an increasingly likely option.
Over 9,000 people have been killed in clashes in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.
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