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Lavrov: Assad 'not going anywhere'

Dec. 23, 2012 at 9:12 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad is "not going anywhere" despite growing pressure from his country's civil war, a Russian diplomat said.

Many observers say neither Assad's regime nor the anti-government opposition will win the now 21-month civil war in Syria, the Financial Times reported.

Assad has taken steps to secure its chemical weapons but has not yet bowed to western-led international efforts to force him to step down.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Assad's recent actions do not signify an attempt on his part to flee the country.

"Listen, no one is going to win this war," Lavrov told reporters at the weekend. "Assad is not going anywhere, no matter what anyone says, be it China or Russia."

Russia and China have backed the Assad regime since the start of the conflict in Syria, deadlocking many United Nations measures on the situation there.

Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is due in the country in the next few weeks as the latest in efforts to find a way to resolve the conflict.

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