Russia's new stance on Syria hailed by rebels
Dubai: The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) Tuesday said it considers Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's statement on Syria as a "new stance" that will speed up the ouster of Bashar al-Assad regime.
Medvedev told CNN that Syrian President Assad has made a "grave, possibly fatal mistake" and his chances of retaining power are getting "smaller and smaller" every day.
Medvedev warned, however, against a situation in which the current political elite in Syria would be swept away by armed action, as the resulting civil war would last "for decades".
"The unified command of the Free Syrian Army views the statements made by the Russian prime minister on Syria and the fate of Bashar al-Assad as Russia's new position towards the Syrian crisis," the FSA, the main armed opposition group operating in Syria, said in a statement.
The FSA also expressed hope Russia's new position will speed up UN Security Council measures to oust the embattled Assad regime, in an effort to stop the violence in the country.
Russia's "new stance" will allow Syria to "oust (Assad) by any way which the Syrian people wishes to choose", the FSA said.
"Time is working against us in our wish to bring an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and to stop displays of extremism and anarchy, which Assad seeks."
"Those who place their stakes on Assad's victory have completely lost the game. Assad is the main part of the problem, and there is no solution to it," the FSA said.
Syria has been locked in a civil war since demonstrations broke out against Assad in March 2011. According to UN estimates, at least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.