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Russian Foreign Minister Warns Against Arming Syrian Opposition

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he does not believe Syria's opposition will ever be able to defeat President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Lavrov, quoted on April 4 while visiting Azerbaijan, said bloodshed in Syria could last for "many, many years," even if opposition supporters are, in his phrase, "armed to the teeth" by outside countries.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have backed arming Syria's opposition, but Western nations including the United States have not publicly supported it.

Russia, a traditional Syrian ally and weapons supplier to the regime, and China, have twice blocked approval of a United Nations Security Council resolution targeting Assad's government.

The UN has estimated that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the past year of the Syrian conflict.

With reporting by RIA-Novosti, Itar-TASS, AFP, and AP