Obama calls Putin as Assad loses his grip in Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin – Assad’s main international supporter – after a Damascus bomb blast killed Syria’s defense minister and Assad’s brother-in-law, throwing the 16-month old rebellion onto an unpredictable new path. …

The White House said Obama discussed the deteriorating Syrian situation with Putin, whose government has repeatedly blocked efforts to rally the U.N. Security Council behind tough measures against Damascus. …

With Russia adamantly opposed to what it sees as a Western-led attempt to dictate the outcome of Syria’s crisis, the U.N. Security Council delayed until Thursday a proposed vote on a U.S.-backed resolution that threatens Damascus with sanctions if it does not stop using heavy weapons and withdraw troops from towns and cities.