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Russia says Syria rebel attack is like 'civil war'

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Russia says Syria rebel attack is like 'civil war'


New amateur video shows several masked men brandishing weapons, standing to attention while one reads out a statement. The men are said to be Syrian army defectors who claim to have killed 14 government soldiers.

But Russia – which has resisted moves to condemn Syria and instead calls for dialogue – is alarmed by the turn of events. Its foreign minister said the attack was tantamount to civil war, and called for for the violence to stop, no matter which side it came from.

“Today I saw television reports saying some new force, the so-called Free Syrian Army I believe, organised an attack on government buildings, on a building belonging to the Syrian armed forces. This is already completely similar to real civil war,” Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

Syrian opposition figures failed to persuade Moscow to back calls for President Assad to quit. But the Arab League’s decision to suspend the country has increased the pressure on Damascus.

New video also appears to show large crowds attending protesters’ funerals. But public opinion at large is hard to guage.

In Damascus Assad supporters threw stones at the United Arab Emirates embassy and daubed the walls with graffiti.

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