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Russia is “categorically against” foreign intervention in Syria.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Russia believes any new steps by the UN Security Council would be “premature”.

“We have always said that we are categorically against any outside interference in the Syrian conflict because this will only exacerbate the situation for both Syria and the region as a whole,” he told the Interfax news agency.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry also said that Beijing was  opposed to military intervention in Syria or forced “regime change”.

Both countries have the power of veto on the UN Security Council.

The US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Japan and Turkey have either expelled Syrian ambassadors and officials or declared them a “persona non grata” following the news of a massacre of 108 women and children at Houla which they blame on Damascus.

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the massacre should “compel the world to take action – not just talk, but action”.