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Assad’s grip on Syria loosening, says Russia’s Medvedev

Medvedev maintained that outside forces must not have a say in deciding whether President Assad must go.

Zeenews Bureau

London: In one of the harshest comments on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s power grip on Syria was weakening and that Russia wasn’t an “exclusive ally of Syraia”.

In an interview to CNN at Davos World Economic Forum conference, Medvedev said, "The chances for him surviving are slipping away as days and weeks go by."

Though criticizing Assad for not starting political reforms earlier, Medvedev maintained that outside forces must not have a say in deciding whether President Assad must go.

“That decision has to be made by the Syrian people", he said.

Medvedev appeared distancing himself from Syria, saying that Russia was not an exclusive ally of Syria and that they didn’t have a “goal” to ensure Assad retains power.

"From the outset, the Russian Federation was not an exclusive ally of Syria or President Assad.. We used to have good relations with him and his father, but he had much closer allies among the Europeans", Medvedev said.

Medvedev also blamed Assad along with the opposition for not coming to negotiating terms with each other saying that it was an "important, if not fatal" mistake by Assad.

“He should have acted much more quickly and reached out to the peaceful opposition which was ready to sit at the negotiating table with him,” he said.

He stressed that the task for the US, and the regional powers is to sit the parties down for negotiations, and not just demand that Assad go and then be executed like the late former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, or be carried to court sessions on a stretcher like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, said a report in The Guardian.

Russia has been a staunch ally and the largest arms supplier to Syria which is now into 22nd month of the conflict, with the UN saying that more than 60, 000 people have been killed so far and

International diplomatic efforts have not affected much change in the Syrian situation with Moscow and China using their veto powers to block three times the UN Security Council resolutions against Assad.