The head of NATO has called on Russia to do more to stop the bloodshed in Syria but stopped short of joining a top United Nations official in declaring the conflict a full-scale civil war.
As world leaders continue to grapple with how to halt the violence, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on Wednesday said he believed the 16-month conflict has worsened to the point of civil war.
In Australia for talks with the federal government, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stopped short of backing Mr Ladsous' assessment, says Sydney Morning Herald.
"Without going into too many details I can confirm that militarily it would be a much more complicated task," said Mr. Rasmussen in response to questions after a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra.
"All this boils down to the conclusion that a foreign military intervention is not the right path in Syria," he said.
Instead, the NATO chief urged leaders to find a political solution based on a six point plan proposed by U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan, and said Russia has a major role to play. "I have a very clear message to Russia. I think Russia can play an instrumental role in facilitating a political solution to the crisis in Syria," said Mr Rasmussen, who blasted the failure of the U.N. to reach agreement at the Security Council level, informs MarketWatch.
Moscow believes an international conference on Syria should be held under the aegis of the UN and should bring together the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria's neighbours -- Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and also Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the League of Arab States and the European Union.
In the efforts to settle the Syrian crisis, "the most topical task that remains today is to assist the fulfillment of the plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and approved by the UN Security Council and remove problems impeding these efforts," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
According to UN estimates, about 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, according to New York Daily News.