Carrying on a tradition that goes back to when the Olympics were held in ancient Greece, the Russian foreign ministry has called for a global ceasefire to be implemented for the duration of the games.
In a statement released today, the Russian foreign ministry specifically mentions the civil war in Syria:
First of all, our call is addressed to all sides in the bloody conflict in Syria, which has significantly destabilized the situation in the country and in the region as a whole.
The irony is, of course, that Russia has been one of the Assad regime's strongest allies and supporters throughout the Syrian civil war.
From a The Daily Beast article based on an interview with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.):
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the U.N.-affiliated group that has conducted inspections so far in 17 Syrian chemical weapons facilities—efforts that contributed to its Nobel Peace Prize win this year—said the Syrian government has "cooperated fully" with inspectors.
But the OPCW and the U.N. have no mandate to stop Russia from continuing to supply Syria with advanced conventional weapons. Rogers said Russia's continued shipments to Syria have included spare parts and equipment for attack helicopters as well as artillery and other kinds of air defense and anti-tank rockets. The U.S. Congressional Research Service estimated that between 2008 and 2011, Russia made conventional arms transfers to Syria worth $1.7 billion. More recently, Human Rights Watch has assessed that Russian-made thermobaric bombs were used in a government assault on the Syrian city of Raqqa at the end of September. Other Russian weapons Syria has used in the conflict include the T-72 tank, the Grad rocket, and the M240 mortar, according to Human Rights Watch.
There is no chance that the violence in Syria is going to stop while the Winter Olympics take place. As the games and the war in Syria go on, keep in mind today's statement from the Russian foreign ministry. A call for a halt to the violence in Syria is laudable, but it sounds ridiculous coming from a government that has helped the Assad regime wage a devastating war.