Russian lawmaker: Assad must pull out troops first - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Russian lawmaker: Assad must pull out troops first

MOSCOW (AP) -- There's a sign that Russia is shifting its position toward the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.

Until now, Russia has joined China in standing in the way of U.N. sanctions over Assad's crackdown on a year of anti-government protests. And Russia has said that in order to end the fighting, Syria's government and the opposition need to withdraw from cities at the same time.

But now, a leading Russian lawmaker says Assad needs to take the first step by pulling his forces out of Syrian cities, and allowing humanitarian assistance. The lawmaker, who has close ties to the Kremlin, is quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Assad needs to "urgently fix numerous mistakes that he has made."

Syria's government has insisted that the opposition should be the first to end hostilities. The West has demanded that Assad's military stop fighting first.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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