Syria opposition methods could lead to 'civil war': Russia

17th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Thursday of civil war in Syria after an attack by army deserters, while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

"Today, by the way, Euro News -- our common TV channel with the European Union --- showed footage where the newly created Free Syrian Army attacked... official buildings," Lavrov said.

"Of course, if the opposition is going to use such methods it will lead... to full-scale civil war," he said.

, referring to Wednesday's attack by Syrian army defectors known as the Free Syrian Army on a military intelligence base just outside Damascus.

Ashton, who was visiting Moscow for talks with Lavrov, said for her part said Assad should step aside amid intensifying pressure on his government to end violence.

"It's time for President Assad to stand down," Ashton said following talks with Lavrov.

Russia's top diplomat earlier in the day urged the Arab League to call on all sides to halt violence, again referring to the attack by the Free Syrian Army.

"Today I saw a television report about some new so-called rebel Free Syrian Army organising an attack on the government building, on the building belonging to Syria's armed forces," he told reporters.

"This was quite similar to a true civil war."

© 2011 AFP

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