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U.S. Hopes Syria Massacre Sparks Change in Russia Stance

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The United States said Tuesday that it hopes the massacre in Syria sparks a "turning point" in Russia's reluctance to take tougher action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Washington welcomes the fact "that the Russians are willing to have a full investigation (of the massacre) because we think it's undisputable what that investigation is going to show," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"It's going to show that these were regime-sponsored thugs who went into villages, went into homes and killed children at point blank-range and their parents. And the responsibility goes right back to the Assad regime," she said.

"From that perspective, is this going to be a turning point in Russian thinking? We hope so," she told reporters when asked if Washington saw signs that Moscow is moving toward tougher action on Syria.

With Russian and Chinese support, the U.N. Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned the Syrian government for using artillery in a massacre in which at least 108 people were killed and 300 others injured.

Russia, like China, had previously opposed two U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning the Assad regime.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Russia was not a supporter of the Assad government but also told world powers to concentrate on ending spiraling violence rather than regime change.

Lavrov said "both sides" were to blame for the killing spree while adding that -- like any government hit by internal conflict -- the Assad regime should bear the brunt of the responsibility.

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