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The bloodshed has led to broad condemnation of the regime, although Russia, Iran and China have stood by President Bashar Assad. Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions that threatened sanctions against Syria.

Russia has refused to support any move that could lead to foreign intervention in Syria, Moscow’s last significant ally in the Middle East. Moscow’s pro-Syria stance also is motivated by its strategic and defense ties to Damascus, including weapons sales.

On Monday, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin defended his country’s arms sales to Syria.

“Under no circumstances can the arms supplied to Syria be used against the civilian population,” Rogozin was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.

“Weapons do not shoot all by themselves. It is people who shoot from them. Unlike its partners, Russia has never tried to add oil to the fire,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to visit Iran on Wednesday.

Despite Russia’s strong stance, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday the U.K. will not rule out the use of an international military intervention.

“Each day reports emerge of savage crimes,” Hague told lawmakers at the House of Commons. “The Syrian military are surrounding and bombarding towns with heavy weaponry, and then unleashing militia groups to terrorize and murder civilians in their homes. These deliberate military tactics are horrifyingly reminiscent of the Balkans in the 1990s.”

He said Britain was focused on diplomatic efforts, but would “not rule out any other option which could at any stage stop the bloodshed.”

Still, the U.S. and its allies have shown little appetite for getting involved in another Arab nation in turmoil. There also is a real concern of a spillover effect for other countries in the region.

In Israel, the deputy military chief warned that Syria’s large chemical weapons stocks could be trained on the Jewish state. According to Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, Syria has the largest arsenal of chemical weapons in the world. If the Syrians had the chance, he said, they would “treat us the same way they treat their own people.”

Syria has not acknowledged possessing chemical weapons, so the size of its arsenal is not known.

Israel has been watching the carnage in neighboring Syria with increasing concern. The two countries have fought major wars, and multiple attempts to reach a peace deal have failed.

On the other hand, the Israel-Syria border has been mostly quiet for decades under the regimes of Assad and his father.