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'Decisive battle' taking place in Syria: Russia

Russia today said a decisive battle was in progress in Syria and rejected a Western-backed UN resolution on the crisis as it would mean taking sides with a revolutionary movement.

world Updated: Jul 18, 2012 21:02 IST

Russia on Wednesday said a decisive battle was in progress in Syria and rejected a Western-backed UN resolution on the crisis as it would mean taking sides with a revolutionary movement.

"A decisive battle is in progress in Syria. Adopting the resolution would mean outright support of a revolutionary movement," foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said in reference to the armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

"And if we are talking about a revolution then the United Nations has nothing to do with it," Lavrov said on the sidelines of a Kremlin meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The UN Security Council is due to meet later on Wednesday to vote on a Western-backed resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter providing for sanctions against Damascus should it fail to withdraw military equipment from cities in 10 days.

The United States says it would only seek economic measures but Russia fears the West could later use other clauses under Chapter 7 that include the use of force should Assad fail to comply.

"We cannot accept Chapter 7 and the section about sanctions," Lavrov told reporters.

Referring to the West he added: "Instead of trying to calm the opposition, some partners are pushing towards a further escalation."

Asked by reporters if Syria was in civil war, Lavrov declined to use the term but said: "What do you think? There is an internal armed conflict, which means that well-armed citizens are fighting between themselves."

"This policy focused on the opposition is going nowhere. Assad himself is not going and the Western partners do not know what to do with this and therefore there is this emotional reaction."