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Shaker called on countries attending a planned “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunisia at the end of this week to find ways of helping the Syrian people.

“People don’t care if it’s the devil intervening to save us from Bashar, we need the world’s help,” he said.

State-run news agency SANA said Syrian businessman Mahmoud Ramadan was shot dead Tuesday by gunmen in the northern province of Aleppo.

Gunmen on Sunday staged a guerrilla-style ambush attack in northern Syria that killed a senior state prosecutor and a judge. On Saturday, a member of the Aleppo city council was also killed. The city has been a center of support for Assad since the uprising began.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Monday the world body should help solve humanitarian issues in Syria.

Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning Assad’s crackdown on protests that killed 5,400 in 2011 alone, according to the U.N. Hundreds more have been killed since, activist groups say. One of the groups puts the toll at more than 7,300.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also said Tuesday that Moscow will not attend the planned “Friends of Syria” meeting, because its organizers had failed to invite representatives of the Syrian government.

Lukashevich said the meeting wouldn’t help a dialogue, saying that the global community should act as friends of the entire Syrian people, and not just one part.

“It looks like an attempt to forge some kind of international coalition like it was with the setting-up of a ‘Contact Group’ for Libya,” Lukashevich said.

Russia has said it will block any U.N. resolution that could pave the way for a replay of what happened in Libya. In that case, Russia abstained from a vote, which cleared the way for months of NATO air force attacks that helped Libyans end Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

Two Iranian navy ships crossed the Suez Canal Tuesday on their way back from the Syrian port of Tartus. The ships had docked in Syria over the weekend on a mission to provide maritime training to Syria’s naval forces, according to Iranian media reports.

Bernardino Leon, the EU’s representative for the Southern Mediterranean, said Assad’s regime missed the opportunity for reforms.

Syria is definitely not in a transition despite announcements of changes, despite plans for a referendum,” Leon told reporters in Jordan.

In Gaza, some 500 Palestinians gathered in a Hamas-authorized demonstration in solidarity with Syrian protesters.

Assad has long hosted and supported leaders of the Islamic Hamas movement, which rules Gaza. But as the body count in Syria continues to rise, Hamas has been trying to distance itself of late from its patron.

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