Russian Official Advises Against Supporting Rebels


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday Western support for the Syrian opposition will only fuel violence in the country.

"We are disturbed by statements coming from leaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army as well as from some U.S. representatives, to the effect that support for the armed opposition will continue in order to restore the military balance on the ground," he said. "That is a road to nowhere."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he was disappointed the European Union decided to lift an embargo on arms supplied to the Syrian opposition.

Lavrov said supplying the arms continues "the vicious cycle of violence."

"I very much hope that all our partners who have in word actively supported the Russian-American initiative will be guided by it in their practical actions as an absolute priority over all else," he said in a RIA Novosti report.

In Syria, rebels briefly took control of the lone crossing between Israel and Syria Thursday, The New York Times reported.

Israeli soldiers have engaged in combat exercises in preparation for what is seen as an inevitable war with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Times reported.

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