February 24, 2012

Bashar al-Assad is not ready to resign and claims to feel strong support despite 11 months of deadly protests, a top Russian lawmaker who met the Syrian president in Damascus this week said Friday.

“I met Assad and did not get the impression that this is a person who is ready to leave power tomorrow,” Alexei Pushkov, the head of the international affairs committee of the State Duma lower house, told reporters.

“The protest movement exists, but it is not such that the president would feel everything crumbling around him — that everything is falling apart and he needs to resign,” Pushkov said.

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