The idea of Vladimir Putin lecturing us about peace, democracy and international law is beyond ironic. And yet here's what he wrote for the New York Times.
Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria...The photo above was taken in March 2011 when Syrians joined in peaceful protests as part of the movement we now call the Arab Spring. They were protesting the brutal dictatorship of Assad. That would have been a moment for Putin's "champion of democracy" to step up. But instead, Assad sent the Syrian Army to quell the uprising with soldiers firing on demonstrators all over the country - thus sparking a civil war.
From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.
Its true that since that civil war has now raged for over 2 years, the lines have blurred with various rebel groups. But what Putin wants you to forget is that it was originally an uprising of the Syrian people that his buddy Assad chose to respond to with brutal force.
P.S. Anna Neistat with Human Rights Watch does a more thorough job of filling in what Putin wants you to forget in his op-ed.