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Report: Syria imported 72% of arms from Russia from 2007 until 2011

Moscow supplied nearly three-quarters of the arms to President Bashar al-Assad's government from 2007 to 2011, according to a new report.

Syria war games military arab league bashar assad 12 05 11Enlarge
Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as they leave the eastern city of Deir Zor following a 10-day military operation on August 16, 2011. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Syria imported nearly six times more weapons from 2007 to 2011 than during the previous five years, and Russia accounted for 72 percent of the arms to the Syrian government, an international research institute said Monday, the Associated Press reported.

The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute highlighted how Moscow continues to provide Syria with weapons while the European Union and US maintain an arms embargo.

However, it did not specify the volume of weapons exported after the start of the uprising in 2011.

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SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman said the arms delivered from 2007 to 2011 included air defense systems and anti-ship missiles, which have no direct use in the current conflict. But Wezeman said they have upgraded the government's military capabilities.

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The United Nations estimates more than 8,000 people have been killed as a result of the violence in Syria.

The report showed the US is the No. 1 weapons exporter while on the flip side - India, South Korea, Pakistan, China and Singapore - were the five largest arms buyers.

CNN reported fresh explosions on Monday in Damascus and other cities around Syria, according to opposition activists.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120318/report-syria-imported-72-arms-russia