Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “has no intention of stepping down and it would be impossible to try to persuade him otherwise.”
Although Russia previously believed that Assad might capitulate to Western demands and let go of the reigns in Syria, it now appears no such outcome will be forthcoming.
According to Lavrov, Assad is making it clear that he will finish out his time as president and that he will do so with a view to “[defending] the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty, and so forth.”
Even though the death toll in Syria is climbing as Assad digs in his heels, Russia continues to make it clear they oppose any use of U.N. sanctions to try to push him out.
Some believe Russia is frozen in place because Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to do anything that looks like an obvious capitulation to the West. Putin believes putting pressure on Assad would give that impression, therefore making himself look weak.