Syria's Assad appeals for Russian support
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian television on Sunday he expected continued support from Moscow even as his regime comes under growing condemnation for its crackdown on the opposition.
"First and foremost, we are relying on Russia as a country with which we are bound by strong ties, in the historic perspective," Assad told Moscow's Channel One television.
"Russia's role is extremely important," Assad said in a clip of an interview that will be broadcast in full at 1700 GMT.
"Starting from the first days of the crisis, we remained in constant contact with the Russian government. We give a detailed account to our Russian friends of the latest developments," he added.
Assad's call came less than month after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the Syrian strongman for the first time to either accept political reform or bow to calls for his resignation.
But Russia continues to support Syria at the UN Security Council and has blocked past resolutions calling for stiffer sanctions against Moscow's traditional ally.
© 2011 AFP