Russia Vows to Reject Sanctions on Syria

Posted July 12th, 2012 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia says it will not vote for sanctions on Syria to try to end the violence there, as Western powers are demanding.

At the U.N. Security Council, Britain, France, Germany and the United States said Thursday that sanctions must be invoked against Damascus within 10 days unless the Syrian military stops using heavy weapons against opposition forces.

Security Council members are preparing for a vote on the resolution .

Russia says the Council should pass an alternate resolution that would simply extend the mandate of the U.N. observer mission in Syria for another three months.

Meanwhile, Syria's ambassador to Iraq has defected and joined the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's rule. Nawaf Fares urged members of Syria's military to join him, because there is no honor in killing one's own people.

Fares is the highest-ranking Syrian official to switch sides since the uprising against Mr. Assad's regime began 16 months ago.

The special U.N. envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan briefed Security Council members via video link on Wednesday about the talks he hosted earlier in the week in Damascus, Tehran, and Baghdad. He told reporters he advised the council to make its message to both sides in Syria more powerful by speaking with one voice, overcoming divisions.