U.S. intelligence says the regime may be readying chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them. Both Israel and the U.S. have also expressed concerns they could fall into militant hands if the regime crumbles.
Lavrov gave no indication that Moscow could change its opposition to sanctions against Assad. He assailed the West for failing to persuade the opposition to sit down for peace talks with the government, saying that "the Syrian president's head is more important for them than saving human lives."
Lavrov added that U.N. peace envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, would visit Moscow for talks before the year's end.
He said that Moscow has also invited the revamped Syrian opposition leadership to visit.
"We are ready to honestly explain that the emphasis on a military solution and the dismantling of the state institutions is disastrous for the country," he said. "Listen, there will be no winner in this war."