UPDATE 6-West rebukes Putin over Syria at G8 summit

Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:00pm EDT
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* Obama, Putin likely to square off over Syria

* Putin describes Syrian rebels as cannibals

* Russia says will not permit no-fly zone

* EU-US to start formal talks on free trade deal

By Roberta Rampton and Alexei Anishchuk

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland, June 17 (Reuters) - Western leaders rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Syria's Bashar al-Assad's attempt to crush a two-year-old uprising, setting the stage for a tense G8 summit of the world's most powerful nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to use his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in a year to try to persuade the Kremlin chief to bring Assad to the negotiating table to end a conflict in which at least 93,000 people have been killed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is chairing the G8 summit in a remote golf resort in Northern Ireland, conceded there was "a big difference" between the positions of Russia and the West on how to resolve the war.

In some of his most colourful remarks on Syria, Putin described anti-Assad rebels as cannibals who ate human flesh and warned Obama of the dangers of giving guns to such people. Moscow also said it would not permit no-fly zones over to Syria.   Continued...