Russia 'not against Assad's departure'
Moscow, June 9, 2012
Russia will not oppose the departure of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad if such a move is a result of a dialogue between Syrians themselves and is not enforced through external pressure, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.
'If the Syrians agree (about Assad's departure) between each other, we will only be happy to support such a solution,' Lavrov told reporters.
'But we believe it is unacceptable to impose the conditions for such a dialogue from outside,' he added.
Meanwhile media reports citing Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 17 people, including 10 women, were killed overnight by shelling in Deraa, where the uprising against Assad erupted 15 months ago.
Fighting was also reported in Homs and Damascus, killing a total of 44 civilians and 25 on Friday, the group said, showing neither side was respecting a UN-backed ceasefire, the failure of which has left outside powers divided on what to do next.
'We didn't sleep all night, the situation is a mess, all kinds of explosions and heavy weapons,' a Deraa resident who called himself Adnan, said via Skype.
'We could hear the blast from the rockets hitting in the neighbourhood nearby. If we were afraid, you can imagine how afraid our children are.'
Two massacres of civilians in the last two weeks have added urgency to talks between foreign powers on what to do since the ceasefire, supposed to take effect on April 12, has failed to stop the violence.-Reuters