MOSCOW (AP) — There's a sign that the worldwide reaction to Syria's crackdown on rebels is putting a squeeze on the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Senior Syrian officials are pleading with Russia for financial loans and supplies of oil products. The appeals came from a Syrian delegation holding talks in Moscow.
A Syrian deputy prime minister who led the delegation said they have asked for a Russian loan to replenish Syria's hard currency reserves. They've been depleted by international embargoes on Syrian exports.
The Syrian said the loan may come within weeks. But Russian officials aren't commenting on the requests.
Syria has blamed U.S. and European Union sanctions for shortages that have left Syrians standing in long lines to pay inflated prices for cooking gas, sugar and other staples. Syria's oil minister says an EU embargo led to fuel shortages affecting 20 million Syrians, but that a deal with Russia should fix the problem. Syria would get diesel oil and other products from Russia in exchange for crude supplies.