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Mr. Juppe’s comments echoed those of President Obama when he warned that an international response could lead to more deaths.

“Our natural instinct is to act,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday. “It’s very important for us to make sure that we have thought through all of our actions before we take those steps.”

Russia, a powerful ally of Syria‘s, is opposed to any new sanctions or international action in Syria but offered its support Thursday to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his efforts to help end the violence.

Syria retains strong ties with Iran, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent said Thursday that it had received aid from its Iranian counterpart and would distribute it throughout Syria’s provinces.