Airstrike in Aleppo.
A Syrian man walks by a building destroyed in an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, August 17. Photo by AP
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Reuters
Free Syrian Army members rip a banner showing Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. Photo by Reuters
AP
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, August 21, 2012 Photo by AP

Syrian Vice President Qadri Jamil said in a press conference on Tuesday that Damascus is willing to discuss President Bashar Assad's resignation. This marks the first time a government representative has addressed media reports concerning the possibility of Assad's departure from power.

Jamil rejected the notion of Assad's resignation as a prerequisite for negotiations, but said that "all problems can come up during negotiations, and we will be willing to discuss this issue."

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Jamil also responded to U.S. President Barack Obama's warning to Assad that use or deployment of chemical or biological weapons in his country's conflict would constitute a "red line" for the United States. According to Jamil, the West is looking for an excuse to act militarily against Syria, as it did in 2003 in Iraq. Jamil cautioned that military intervention in Syria will lead to a conflict that will extend over the country's borders.

Also on Tuesday, at least 152 people were killed in clashes across the country, the majority of them in and around Damascus. In Tripoli, north Lebanon, four people were killed and 60 injured in clashes between Alawites and Sunnis.