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The Boston Globe


Russia says it will not help Assad leave Syria

Key ally appears to be distancing itself from leader

BEIRUT — The foreign minister of Russia, Syria’s most reliable ally, said Saturday that Russia would not act as a mediator in any attempts to get President Bashar Assad to leave Syria, although the minister said several countries were offering asylum, according to the Interfax news agency.

‘‘We would be the first to cross ourselves and say, ‘Thank God, the carnage is over,’’’ the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, told reporters who accompanied him on a flight home from the Russia-European Union summit meeting in Brussels, Interfax said.

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