DAMASCUS: President Bashar al-Assad's key ally Moscow has not stopped supporting the Syrian regime, a state daily said on Sunday, hours after Russia's top diplomat met the Syrian opposition leader.
"Bets that Russia would change its mind and modify its stance clash with its policy, which is commanded by its interests and strategic considerations," the official daily Ath Thawra wrote in an editorial.
The paper also condemned Western countries' and Syrian opponents' attempts at "making up a new Russian position, reflecting their own fears and apprehensions."
Moscow is one of Assad's last remaining allies, and its support for the fight against rebels seeking to overthrow his regime "is becoming more solid each day," Ath Thawra said.
On Saturday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time held direct talks with the opposition Syrian National Council leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, in Munich.
While Lavrov expressed interest in "maintaining regular contact" with the opposition, he also said the dissidents' insistence on Assad's departure "is the main reason for the continuation of the Syrian tragedy."
Russia has blocked three UN Security Council resolutions threatening sanctions against Assad over the violent crackdown in Syria, and has been blamed by the armed opposition for being partly responsible for the bloodshed.