Russia expressed serious concern Friday over attempts by Syrian rebels to gain control of Aleppo and condemned foreign nations for providing the armed opposition with military supplies.
The foreign ministry said the latest evidence from Syria's second city showed that "illegal armed formations" were trying to make Aleppo into a base for future attacks on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops.
"Moscow is very worried by the dangerous development in the situation, the violence and provocations aimed at expanding the scope and the cruelty in the civil war," the ministry said in a statement.
It added that Russian officials were receiving reports of foreign nations supplying the rebels with portable surface-to-air missile launchers "that can be used against civilian targets."
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It also pointed to the recent broadcast of a video purportedly showing the execution of a pro-regime family by opposition fighters as evidence of grave crimes being committed by those fighting Assad.
"Assistance and support for the armed opposition contradict the UN Security Council resolution on Syria and Kofi Annan's plan," Russia said, referring to UN-Arab League former envoy's failed six-point plan initiative.
Annan announced his resignation from the job on Thursday in a move that dealt a blow to Russia's efforts to shield its Soviet-era ally from more forceful action from Western and Arab states.
Russia had defended Annan's initiative as the only way for a negotiated solution to the 17-month conflict and insisted on the extension of a UN observers mission in Syria that remains suspended amid the violence today.
Moscow on Friday stressed the need for finding a quick replacement for Annan and said the UN mission should have a future role to play in monitoring the situation in Aleppo and at other sites.