Russia welcomes any offer to give Assad refuge
BEIRUT – Russia would welcome any country's offer of safe haven for Syrian President Bashar Assad, but has no plans to make one of its own, Moscow's foreign minister said in the latest comments to suggest a growing distance between the two allies.
Sergey Lavrov's remarks on Friday night were among the clearest signs yet that Russia could be preparing for a Syria without Assad, as rebel pressure on the embattled leader intensifies. Over the past four weeks, fighting has reached Damascus, his seat of power, and rebels have captured a string of military bases.
Up to now, Russia has vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Syria's government to stop the violence that has killed more than 40,000 people over the past 21 months. While Russian leaders have given no concrete signs that stance has changed, their tone has shifted as rebels advance on the outskirts of the capital.
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