Russia on Friday denied that its deputy foreign minister had said a day earlier that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is losing control of his country. Russia's explanation — that the official, Mikhail Bogdanov, was characterizing the opinion of the Syrian opposition rather than stating Russia's position — did not jibe with Bogdanov's words on Thursday: "There is a trend for the government to progressively lose control over an increasing part of the territory," adding that "an opposition victory can't be excluded." The reversal indicates that Moscow has no intention yet of not backing its Syrian ally. A spokesman for the ministry said that Russia continues to call for a political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
Subscribe to the Week