Russia Rejects Assad Exit as Precondition for Syria Deal

U.S. insists the Syrian president must step down in order to end the civil war. Russia is Assad's main backer during 22-month-old crisis, blocking resolutions aimed to push him from power.

Russia voiced support on Saturday for international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi but insisted Syrian President Bashar Assad's exit cannot be a precondition for a deal to end the country's conflict.