Russia condemns ally Syria over massacre of 108 [View all]
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY and LYNN BERRY
BEIRUT (AP) - A weekend massacre of more than 100 people emerged as a potential turning point in the Syrian crisis Monday, galvanizing even staunch ally Russia to take an unusually hard line against President Bashar Assad's government.
Analysts said Russia may be warning Assad that he needs to change course or lose Moscow's support, which has been a key layer of protection for the Syrian government during the uprising that began in March 2011.
Russia has grown increasingly critical of Damascus in recent months, but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's latest comments were unusually strong. Although he said opposition forces have terrorists among them, he put the blame for 15 months of carnage primarily on Assad's government.
"The government bears the main responsibility for what is going on," Lavrov said in Moscow following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "Any government in any country bears responsibility for the security of its citizens."