MOSCOW, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should have moved faster to seek a deal with the moderate opponents who were ready to sit down with him, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday.
"To my mind, unfortunately, the leadership of Syria proved unprepared for that," Medvedev said in an interview with CNN television, adding it was a "grave mistake."
"It seems to me that his chances of staying (in power) are shrinking day by day," he told CNN on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Medvedev, however, reiterated Russia's stand that only the Syrian people could decide the fate of al-Assad and rejected foreign interference in settling the 22-month Syrian crisis.
"I want to repeat once again -- this should be decided by the Syrian people, not Russia, or the United States or any other country."
"The international community -- the United States of America, Europeans, and regional nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others -- should bring the sides to the negotiating table instead of simply demanding that al-Assad leave," Medvedev said.
He warned removing al-Assad by force would mean "decades" of civil war.
Syria has been engulfed in a bloody civil war between opposition forces and government troops since March 2011. It has so far claimed 60,000 lives, according to UN estimates.
Russia has long opposed foreign military intervention and forced regime change in Syria.
BEIRUT, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- An Arab League (AL) delegation to Lebanon under special emissary Faiqa Saleh has on Sunday termed the conditions of the Syrian refugees here "as absolutely degrading and appalling."
Saleh on Sunday toured the Syrian refugee camps in northern and eastern Lebanon before submitting her final report over the status of displaced Syrians in Lebanon to the Arab ministerial council and to a Kuwait conference, which will be held next week. Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian military source said Saturday that army units have eliminated many armed militiamen in the country's northwestern province of Idlib, a main hub of armed insurgency in Syria's 22-month deadly conflict, according to state- run SANA news agency.
The clashes have taken place in the towns of Binnish, Tamsirin and Sarmin, the unnamed source said, adding that the army's operations were "qualitative" and led to the destroying of sophisticated sniper rifles and rockets.Full story