World Bulletin/News Desk
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Saturday that international support for Syrian rebels would lead to "more blood" and the government could not be expected to willingly give in to its opponents.
Lavrov, whose country has vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions intended to increase pressure on Syria's government to end 16 months of violence, said Western and Arab nations should exert more influence on rebels to stop fighting.
He said "tragedy" could be imminent in the Syrian city of Aleppo, but indicated rebels would be at least partly to blame.
"Pressure must be put on everyone," Lavrov said at a joint news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba after talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, President Vladimir Putin's summer base.
"Unfortunately, our Western partners prefer to do something a bit different and essentially, along with some countries neighbouring Syria, encourage, support and direct the armed fight against the regime," he said.
"The price of all this is still more blood."
In the wake of the Security Council vetoes by Russia and China, the United States has said it will seek ways to trackle the crisis outside the U.N.
Gemba said it was "very serious moment" in Syria and it was primarily up to the government to stop the bloodshed.
"The position of the Russian side has great influence, and there is also the voice of the international community. We are counting on a constructive Russian position," he said, speaking through an interpreter.
Lavrov said Russia was calling on the government to "take the first steps" but that the rebels should not take advantage of any such government actions by occupying cities and towns.
"The city of Aleppo is occupied by the armed opposition and the next tragedy is brewing there, as I understand it," he said.
"Well-armed opposition groups are occupying cities, intending to create some sort of buffer zones for a transitional government. How can one expect that the Syrian government will say, 'Yes, go ahead, overthrow me,'" he said.
"This is unrealistic - not because we are holding onto the regime but because it just doesn't work," he said.
Israeli Foreign Ministry director visits United Arab Emirates' capital Adu Dhabi to finalize opening of mission
Five people are killed when Russian warplanes strike targets in opposition-held area of Syria's northwestern Idlib province
At least 180,879 civilians have been killed by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria since March 2011, Syrian Network for Human Rights says
Saudi Arabia has long been deeply suspicious of Hezbollah, a close ally of its regional rival Iran
Thousands of Turkmen reportedly displaced by ongoing assaults by regime and Russian warplanes in Syria's predominantly-Turkmen Bayirbucak region
A dozen people killed in separate bombings and shooting attacks across war-torn Iraq, local sources report
'Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues,' International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano says
Syrian Network for Human Rights says 20,000 women have been killed in the Syrian conflict, wıth almost 95 percent of them by Assad regime
Regime offensive comes one day after Turkmen fighters retook control of Kizildag town
Russian planes have carried out at least 12 strikes in the area where Turkey downed their fighter jet
The second pilot who ejected from the fighter jet shot by Turkish forces has been picked up by the Syrian army
Sources report that first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot at him as he landed after ejecting from the plane
Turkish reports say incident happened in border area between Turkey's southern Hatay province and an area in northwest Syria populated by the Turkic-speaking Turkmen minority
Twin attacks target hotel housing judges tasked with overseeing Egypt’s parliamentary polls
Turkey has condemned the ruthless attacks by Russia and have sent a letter to the UN expressing grave concern about attacks in Bayirbucak Turkmen area in northwestern Syria
Iran calls for international investment as it seeks a greater share of the world's gas market