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Kremlin says support for Syria’s Assad ‘not unconditional’



Mexico’s top diplomat met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations. During a photo op, Tillerson said there’s “no doubt in our mind” that the Syrian government under was behind a recent chemical attack. (April 5)

Russian support for Syrian President Bashar Assad is “not unconditional,” the Kremlin said Thursday.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the statement to the Associated Press the same day UNICEF confirmed the death of at least 27 children in the apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria this week that sparked global outrage.

The Kremlin has made similar statements in the past but remained Assad’s most crucial ally in his brutal struggle to retain power.

Peskov told AP that Moscow and the Assad regime have a strong relationship and that only Assad can keep “terrorists” from overrunning the nation scarred by six years of devastating civil war. But Peskov added that Moscow doesn’t have the power to tell Assad what to do.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 86 from Tuesday’s attack in Syria’s northwest province of Idlib, including dozens of women and children. Turkish officials have put the death toll at more than 100.

Another 546 people, including many children, suffered from the effects of the gas, the U.N.’s child advocacy group said Thursday.

“The killing of children…

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