MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - The West might try implementing a modified "Libyan scenario" in Syria by supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition to oust President Bashar al-Assad, Alexei Pushkov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, said on Tuesday.
Rebels in Libya, some of them members of Islamist groups, ousted and killed long-standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, after a months-long uprising in which they received assistance from NATO forces.
“The political maneuver phase has come to an end, and the West is starting to implement a modified Libyan scenario in Syria, which is to ouster Assad by supporting rebels and providing them with weapons,” Pushkov said.
According to Pushkov, France and Britain already voiced their intentions to begin arms supplies to Syrian rebels in late May. Although not influencing the conflict in Syria directly, the United States, he said, is playing the role of coordinator and organizer.
“It is no secret that American military instructors are training militants at bases in Jordan,” Pushkov said.
Last week, The New York Times reported that the United States has been assisting Turkey and Arab nations in boosting their arms deliveries to Syrian rebels in recent months.
Washington insists that it is providing only nonlethal aid to the insurgents, but concedes that some of its allies opted to deliver weapons to the rebels seeking Assad’s ouster.
About 70,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the uprising against president Assad in March 2011, according to UN estimates.