The recent deadly bomb attacks in Syria were the work of al-Qaeda, said Russia's top diplomat.

“Terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, are behind the recent terror strikes in Syria,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Monday. “There is completely proved evidence that armed groups [in Syria] include mercenaries from Libya and other Arab countries.”

“This gives little hope for an early start of talks,” he added.

Syrian opposition claimed that security services could be behind the twin suicide bomb attacks in Damascus that killed 55 people last week. It was the worst terrorist attack in the Syrian capital so far.

Mr. Gatilov said Russia had no plans to halt its defence cooperation with Syria.

“Whatever we supply to Syria is being done on legitimate basis. We do not supply offensive weapons, only defensive ones, including firearms,” he said.

The U.S. State Department accused Russia of pouring oil into the Syrian fire by selling Damascus weapons. However, the Russian diplomat said it would be “wrong” to leave government forces defenceless in the face of arms supplies to rebels.

Russia has again invited several opposition groups, including those abroad, to hold talks in Moscow to unite multiple opposition groups and facilitate their dialogue with the government, Mr. Gatilov said.

“Amorphous” document

The diplomat said a new U.N. resolution on Syria may be necessary after the U.N. mission sends in its report, but Russia would not support any “amorphous” document, especially if it called for military intervention.

Russia and China twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria because of their pro-rebel tilt, but gave full backing to U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

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