Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo has commented on a recent interview given by Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying his words were "a maneuver designed to postpone U.S. action in Syria."
In the interview, Putin said Russia "will act decisively if the use of chemical weapons in Syria is proven and Russia will suspend the delivery of S-30 missiles to Syria."
Speaking to al-Nahar, Kilo said: "I am afraid that the statement still lies within the mentality that decides Putin's and Russian policy. Even if the (Syrian President) Bashar Assad used chemical weapons in Moscow, the Russians would not recognize it."
"Russia has not delivered the missiles to Assad, but Putin announced his willingness to sell arms to Syria; it is clear that he is an arms dealer more than a leader of a state," he said.
"The missiles were not delivered to Assad because technically they need six or seven months of training to be used and there is no time for the Syrian army to train – not today or tomorrow – instead they train on people," he said.
On reported frustrations by the Syrian opposition over Obama's decision to resort to Congress on whether or not to strike, Kilo said: "I did not feel frustrated. I do not bet on anybody in this world but the Syrian people who have proved they are capable of bearing anything."
"Obama has procedures and internal policies and stakes that do not allow him to take a particular decision after the red line he set was passed," he continued.
Kilo rejected the suggestion that the region will become embroiled in war if the Iranians decided to carry out their threats against Israel in response to a strike on Syria.
He said he considered the only person to make the threat "one of the fools of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."
"With or without the opposition, the strike will largely limit the regime's capacities because it has already begun to fall apart and many regime officers fled after the battle of Khan al-Assal. In Mennigh, 120 officers surrendered or fled, and in the coast they were not present. Today there is information on the defection of some high-ranking officers whose names cannot be announced now."
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer