Assad to blame for uprising, says Putin
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has admitted that his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the uprising against his rule, but refused to alter his opposition to Western intervention in the crisis.
Mr Putin contradicted the Syrian regime's characterisation of the uprising as the work of foreign-backed "terrorists" in an address on the state-run Russia Today television station.
"Syria as a country was rife for some kind of change," he said yesterday. "And the government of Syria should have felt that in due time and should have undertaken some reform. Had they done that, what we're seeing in Syria today would have never happened."
Mr Putin has previously appeared to back away from his support for Mr Assad, raising hopes that he would be able to persuade him to step down and end the crisis. But Russia now seems determined to back him, at least as far as a proposed peace conference agreed with the United States. (© Daily Telegraph, London)