KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkey - China and Russia are increasingly realising that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's time is up, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, as she visited German troops stationed with NATO Patriot missiles close to the Turkish-Syrian frontier.

Merkel, beginning a two-day trip to Turkey, said the missiles, provided at NATO member Turkey's request, were a signal that the alliance would not tolerate Damascus dragging its neighbors into its conflict.

"In view of the terrible events the impression is mounting that China and Russia realize that Mr Assad no longer has a future, that his time is up and that there must be a democratic government," she told troops deployed to operate the missile batteries.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger