The ‘bloodbath’ in Syria will persist if the West insists on President Bashar al-Assad’s departure, the Russian foreign minister said on Wednesday.
"If the position of our partners remains the departure of this leader who they do not like, the bloodbath will continue," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
The nearly 20-month conflict in Syria has killed 36,000 people according to activists.
Fabius also said France and Russia failed to bridge their differences over Assad’s role in any future transition government.
“Yes, there is a difference of assessment on the presence of Bashar al-Assad in a transition government,” he said after a meeting of the French and Russian foreign and defense ministers in Paris.
In July, world powers agreed in Geneva on a plan for a transition in Syria which did not make an explicit call for Assad to quit power although the West swiftly made clear it saw no role for him in any unity government.
However Assad’s allies in Beijing and Moscow insist that it is up to Syrians themselves to determine their future without foreign interference.
Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said It is up to the U.N. Security Council to decide whether a no-fly zone should be imposed on Syria or safe areas created for civilians fleeing the civil war.
Erdogan told reporters during his visit to Germany that the past experience of imposing no-fly zones on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had proved to be fraught with problems.
Erdogan asked Wednesday for Germany’s help in resolving the Syrian crisis and aiding Syrian refugees, calling the bloody strife across the border a “catastrophe.”
The Turkish PM told reporters after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel that Turkey could not manage the influx on its own.
“We absolutely need the support and assistance of Germany,” he said. “At a time when we’re searching for global peace, this is of course a catastrophe and we have to stop it.”
Merkel acknowledged the situation in Syria had become “a real burden” for Turkey and offered “humanitarian aid” to help cope with the tens of thousands fleeing the bloodshed.
“We feel responsible for the security of Turkey,” Merkel said of Germany’s NATO partner. She praised what she called Turkey’s “restraint” in response to Turkish citizens killed by Syrian fire.
Erdogan has been one of the sharpest critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s violent crackdown on the opposition since the start of the conflict more than 19 months ago.
Turkey has also received some 105,000 Syrian refugees.