Topic: Protests in Syria
A Syrian boy looks at a rebel fighter in the northern town of Darkush on December 14, 2012© AFP 2014/ Odd Andersen
WASHINGTON, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - The US Department of State on Friday urged Russia to “to play a more constructive role” in the Syrian settlement and end support for President Bashar al-Assad.
“Now is the time for Russia to work with the international community to support the Syrian people,” State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said.
“What we want is the Russians to play a more constructive role, cease its support for the Syrian regime, wind down its support, and work with us on the roadmap that provides for a managed political transition,” he went on.
Ventrell also said that Russia could play an important role in the Burns-Bogdanov-Brahimi talks, which remain one of the key instruments for the Syrian settlement.
The Syrian conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives since the uprising against Assad started in March 2011, according to UN reports.
Russia, along with China, has drawn heavy Western criticism for its refusal to support UN sanctions against Assad's regime.
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Sevastopol became Russia’s main naval base on the Black Sea, a role it was to play for many years. A total of 25,000 servicemen, not including civilian staff, are employed at the Black fleet’s facilities. When the families of these servicemen are taken into account, this figure grows to more than 100,000 people.