Russia has no plans to grant asylum to Assad - Lavrov

Russia has no plans to grant asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"However, some countries of the region approached us and said, 'Tell Assad we are ready to give him shelter'. And we replied, 'What do we have to do with this? If you have such plans, address him directly," Lavrov told journalists on board a plane following an EU-Russia summit on Saturday.

He reiterated that Russia never had plans to grant asylum to Assad and never invited him.

"If someone wishes to offer him some guarantees, go ahead. We will be the first to cross ourselves and say: 'Thank God, the bloodshed is over' - if only this puts an end to the bloodshed, which is far from being certain," he said.

Western special services have "very substantial anticipations that the overthrowing of the regime is unlikely to end" the confrontation in the country, he said.

Experts polled by Interfax suggested that Turkey and Qatar could have been the countries mentioned by Lavrov as ones seeking Russia's mediation in granting asylum to Assad.

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