Washington: Russia`s Foreign Minister has said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad `is not bluffing` about his determination to stay in power.
In an interview broadcast on Friday, Sergey Lavrov told the BBC that the Syrian leader is digging in and `is not going to leave`.
According to ABC News, he said that they know this for sure, and all those who get in touch with him know that he is not bluffing.
He said that Russia, a close Syria ally, will not pressure Assad to leave, adding that it is not for his to decide, it`s not for anybody else to decide, except the Syrian people.
Syria`s opposition has criticized the West for not helping arm rebel fighters even as Russia and Iran support the regime with weapons.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said it had made arrangements with all parties for the release of 21 UN peacekeepers, all Filipinos, who were seized by Syrian rebels on Wednesday.
Since the conflict began, nearly four million of Syria`s 22 million people have been driven from their homes by the fighting, according to UN estimates, the report added.