Putin aide says British vote reflects dangers of Syria strike

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2013 6:37 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A British parliamentary vote against taking military action in Syria shows a growing international understanding of the risks of intervention, Russian President Vladimir Putin's top foreign policy adviser said on Friday.

"People are beginning to understand how dangerous such scenarios are, especially when (the use of force) is not sanctioned," Yuri Ushakov told reporters, apparently referring to the lack of a U.N. Security Council mandate for a strike.

He said he believed the vote on Thursday reflected the majority opinion in Europe as a whole, not just Britain.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful diplomatic ally, opposes any military intervention in Syria, warning that an attack would increase tension and undermine the chances of ending the deadly civil war.

"Russia is actively working to avert a military scenario in Syria," Ushakov said. Russia holds veto powers as a permanent U.N. Security Council member and has blocked three resolutions meant to condemn Assad and press him to stop the violence.

U.S. officials suggested after the British parliamentary vote that President Barack Obama would be willing to proceed with limited actions to punish Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack even without specific promises of allied support.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage)