MOSCOW: Russia on Friday repeated a call for an immediate end to the violence in Syria in a statement issued a day after the UN Security Council discussed the humanitarian crisis in the strife-torn country.
“The violence in Syria has to be ended immediately,” and work begun on a “political settlement to end the suffering of the civilian population”, said a foreign ministry statement.
According to the United Nations, at least 1.2 million people in Syria have been forced by the violence to flee their homes with 2.5 million people in all affected by the conflict.
The violence has also affected Syria's neighbours, with an estimated 221,000 people having taken refuge over the border in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Russia has long had close ties with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, to which it had delivered weapons despite criticism from Western powers.
Along with with China it has on three occasions blocked Security Council resolutions drafted by the Western powers designed to increase the pressure on the Assad regime with the threat of sanctions.
Since the start of the uprising against Assad's rule in March 2011, the violence has claimed 25,000 lives according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.