Russian diplomats in Washington, trying to justify Moscow’s support of Syrian President Bashar Assad to Senate staffers earlier this month, compared what Assad is doing in Syria to Israel’s policies in Gaza.

According to information from staffers who were at the meeting, the central theme of the briefing – aimed at giving an overview of Russia’s Syrian policy – was that there was no reason for Moscow to stop supporting Assad because both the government and the opposition had committed “crimes.”

The Russian diplomats, dispatched to Capitol Hill for the meeting by the Russian embassy in Washington, said it was preferential to keeping Assad in power – with the “necessary adjustments” – because that would be better for regional stability.

When the US staffers pushed back against the Russian argument, the Russian diplomats – according to participants in the meeting – replied that the US had no right complaining against Moscow’s support for Assad.

Washington supported Israel, they said, which takes similar actions against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials declined to comment on the matter Monday.

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