Demonstrators pose with Syrian opposition flags
Syrian opposition could defeat govt says Russia
Moscow, December 13, 2012
Rebel forces are gaining ground against the Syrian government and could win the war against President Bashar al-Assad, the Kremlin's envoy for Middle East affairs said on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov also said Russia was working on plans to evacuate its citizens from Syria if necessary.
"One must look the facts in the face. The regime and government in Syria is losing control of more and more territory," Russian state-run RIA quoted Bogdanov as saying.
"Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out."
His remarks were the clearest sign yet that Russia is preparing for the possible defeat of Assad's government at the hands of opponents in a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people since March 2011.
"We are dealing with issues of preparations for an evacuation. We have mobilisation plans and are clarifying where our citizens are located," Bogdanov said.
Russia, which has shielded Assad's government from censure by the U.N. Security Council and resisted Western pressure to join efforts to push him from power, will continue to insist upon a peaceful resolution, he said. – Reuters