MOSCOW - Russia said on Friday that decisions made at a "Friends of
Syria" meeting in Rome, at which Western and Arab states pledged aid for
Syrian rebels, would embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad's foes
seeking his overthrow.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander
Lukashevich said rebel attempts to topple Assad would inevitably cause
suffering among civilians in Syria, where more than 70,000 people have
been killed in a nearly two-year-old conflict.
in Rome, as well as declarations voiced there, in letter and spirit
directly encourage extremists to (seek) the seizure of power by force,"
he said in a statement.
After the "Friends of Syria" meeting on
Thursday, the United States said it would give non-lethal aid directly
to rebels for the first time and would more than double its support to
Syria's civilian opposition, but Western powers did not offer weapons.
says it is not propping up Assad but has shielded him by blocking UN
Security Council resolutions aimed to put pressure on him to end
bloodshed and by insisting that his exit from power must not be a
precondition for a negotiated solution.
On Thursday, President
Vladimir Putin cautiously welcomed French President Francois Hollande's
proposal that dialogue on Syria be broadened to bring in parties that
could act as negotiators between Assad and opposition rebels.