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MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Russian diplomat is dismissing the idea of a U.N. peacekeeping mission to Syria, saying it would be impossible as fighting rages in the Arab state.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also reiterated Moscow's opposition to any U.N. resolution that would allow for the use of force against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

The possibility of a peacekeeping mission was floated at the U.N. as part of an overall process to stop the civil war in Syria.

But Gatilov told Interfax news agency that "there is neither peace for the U.N. peacekeepers to ensure, nor a cease-fire for them to monitor."

Russia's is Syria most powerful ally and has shielded Assad's regime from U.N. sanctions. Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011.

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