Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the Western countries for arming foreign-backed militants fighting the Syrian government, warning that such move contradicts basic human values since the armed groups are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, Putin said: "You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years."
Putin was referring to video footage surfaced on the Internet last month of a militant eating what appeared to be the heart of a dead Syrian soldier.
In an interview with Time magazine on May 14, the cannibal militant, known by his nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, confirmed that the video is real and that he did indeed take a bite of the soldier’s lung. Human Rights Watch said it was a war crime.
Putin said that Russia by contrast was arming the legitimate government of Syria
"We are not breaching any rules and norms and we call on all our partners to act in the same fashion," he said.
Speaking after a difficult meeting with Putin in Northern Ireland, Cameron claimed both men were in agreement on the need to end the human catastrophe of the Syrian crisis. But there was little to suggest the two men made progress on how to convene a fresh Syrian peace conference in Geneva, let alone who should attend, or its agenda.
"There are very big differences between the analysis we have of what happened in Syria and who is to blame but where there is common ground is that we both see a humanitarian catastrophe," Cameron said.
"What I take from our conversation today is that we can overcome these differences if we recognize that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them," he said.