The overthrow of the Bashar Assad regime will disturb the inter-religious harmony in Syria, Chairman of the Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov said on Thursday.

"Syria has been an exemplar of the coexistence of various ethnic and religious communities. And when we hear statements that Assad must be toppled and that after that Syria will become a democratic and prospering state, we are either considered to be fools, or those who make such statements either belong to the same category or are pretending to have a different agenda," told reporters at Interfax's main office.

The Assad regime has enabled various religious groups to live peacefully side by side, he said.

"In Syria, the Christians, the Sunnis, the Kurds, the Alawites and others have lived peacefully. And no matter how hard we criticize Assad-Senior and Assad-Junior, Syria has been one of the few countries where such a mix has not led to sharp conflicts," Pushkov explained.

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