Assad's chances of retaining power in Syria 'getting smaller': Medvedev
The Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chances of retaining power are getting "smaller and smaller" every day.
During an interview with CNN, Medvedev, however, reiterated calls for talks between the government and its foes and repeated Moscow's position that Assad must not be pushed out by external forces.
He stressed that the task for the US, and the regional powers is to sit the parties down for negotiations, and not just demand that Assad go and then be executed like the late former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, or be carried to court sessions on a stretcher like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, the Guardian reports.
Russia has been Assad's most important ally throughout the 22-month-old Syrian conflict.
Moscow has blocked three UN security council resolutions aimed at pushing him out or pressuring him to end the bloodshed, which has killed over 60,000 people.
But Russia has also distanced itself from Assad by saying it is not trying to prop him up and will not offer him asylum, the paper said.
According to the paper, Medvedev made some of Russia's harshest criticisms of Assad to date, placing equal blame for the escalation into a civil war on "the leadership of the country and the irreconcilable opposition".
He also said Assad was far too slow to implement promised political reforms, the paper added.