June 21 - Russian President Vladimir Putin says swift Assad exit could leave risky political vacuum in Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
No let up in the fight in Syria. Amateur video which could not be independently verified by Reuters appears to show a military base in Idlib Province. With Russia and Iran arming President Bashar al-Assad's government forces, and Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters joining the fight , Western powers agreed to step up aid to the mainly Sunni rebels. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meeting in Moscow with German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the West to be careful what they wish for. . (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "We are concerned about the possible appearance of a political vacuum in Syria if some decisions about a change of government in Syria are taken now. I am saying this to you as frankly as I did during our G8 discussions in the U.K. Mrs. Federal Chancellor knows it and can confirm it, I used the same words. Assad goes today, a political vacuum emerges - who will fill it? Maybe terrorist organizations?" At least 93,000 people have been killed in the conflict that has gone on for more than two years. Hopes for peace have been delayed, with an international peace conference aimed at ending the conflict not likely to take place before August.