Russia could grant asylum to Bashar al-Assad if he is forced to leave Syria, Vladimir Putin suggested in an interview with the German tabloid Bild.

assad-putin-embedThe Russian president said it was premature to discuss asylum, but added that it would be easier to welcome the Syrian leader than the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was given asylum in Russia in 2013.

“It was surely more difficult to grant Snowden asylum in Russia than it would be in the case of Assad,” the Russian president said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Putin said it was too early to say whether Russia would have to give shelter to Assad as part of a transition to a new government in Syria under the road map to a peace deal approved by most parties in the conflict last year.

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