AMMAN (Reuters) - Russia has rejected Western calls for wider sanctions on Syria over its violent crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad, in which the United Nations said 2,600 people have been killed. A day after France described the lack of a firm U.N. stance against Damascus as a scandal, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday recent U.S. and European sanctions on Syria meant additional pressure now is absolutely not needed in this direction. Russia, which has a naval base in Syria and major oil and gas concessions, and China both veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council have resisted efforts by Washington and its European allies to toughen the international response to Syrias repression of nearly six months of protests. Assad has reacted to the uprising, inspired by revolts which have toppled three North African leaders this year, with military assaults on protest centers and mass arrests. On Monday, residents and local activists said Syrian forces killed at least 22 civilians, including a father and a son in the town of Rastan near Homs and 15 villagers in raids in the countryside around Hama in what they said was one of the biggest military assaults since the uprising broke out. At least 2,000 troops backed by dozens of armored vehicles fired machineguns at random and stormed several villages and towns in the al-Ghab Plain, agricultural land northwest of Hama, they said. Residents and activists had reported earlier that several thousand soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles had massed in the last 24 hours in areas north of Hama which had seen large protests calling for Assads removal. Egypt added to growing criticism of the crackdown by fellow Arab nations. The solution must be through negotiations and dialogue, Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said in an interview with Egyptian state television. Damascus blames armed groups for the violence. Assads media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban, speaking on a trip to Moscow on Monday, gave a lower death toll than the United Nations and said half of the fatalities were among security forces. According to our information, 700 people were killed on the side of the army and police and 700 on the side of the insurgents, Shaaban told reporters through a translator. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the United Nations figure was based on reliable sources on the ground. The number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March ... has now reached at least 2,600, Pillay told the U.N. Human Rights Council. She did not identify the sources. Syria has barred Pillays investigation team and most foreign journalists from entering the country.