8500 dead as Putin says political asylum for Assad not on agenda
Russia does not even ask the question of a possible political asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in his first statements on the Syrian crisis since his election to the Russian presidency Sunday.
Asked by reporters whether Russia might grant a political asylum to Assad, Putin replied: "We do not even discuss the issue."
In late February, the Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki, said his country was ready to grant political asylum to Bashar al-Assad, but he could also take refuge in Russia.
Nearly 8,500 people, mostly civilians, were killed in violence since the beginning of the revolt in Syria in March 2011, said Wednesday the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. The victims included 6,195 civilians and 2,263 soldiers and members of the security services, including 428 deserters who joined the rebels, say a total of 8,458 deaths, said the head of the NGO, Rami Abdel Rahman.