SOCHI, Russia - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Syria's crisis must be resolved through negotiations, not force of arms, and warned that if President Bashar Assad's government is toppled a civil war could continue with roles reversed.

After talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Putin said last week's vote to extend an observer mission showed that compromise can be found at the United Nations but gave no sign Russia will drop its opposition to sanctions or intervention.

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