Middle East

Russia suspends operations at consulate in Aleppo, Syria

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian people gather at the site after an explosion hit a university in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)

MOSCOW: Russia said it had suspended operations at its consulate in Aleppo after two explosions rocked a university in Syria's second-biggest city.

"The activity of the consulate of the Russian Federation in Aleppo ... has been temporarily suspended," the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.

It said anyone with consular issues to resolve was welcome to contact the consular section of the Russian embassy in the capital, Damascus.

At least 52 people were killed and dozens wounded in two explosions that rocked the University of Aleppo on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Russia has blocked three Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at putting pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or pushing him from power, and says his exit must not be a precondition for a peace deal.

Russia has said that, if necessary, it will evacuate its citizens from Syria, where more than 60,000 people have been killed in a conflict that began with a government crackdown on protests in March 2011 but has escalated into civil war.





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