Lavrov: Talk of not involving Syrian Army in fighting ISIS is nonsense

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the most effective military force on the ground in Syria is the Syrian Arab Army, and that talk of not involving it in the war on ISIS is nonsense.

In an interview given to Russia Channel One TV on Sunday, Lavrov wondered if everyone wants Russia to say that it will bombard terrorists in Syria without permission from the Syrian President.

He also criticized the double standards of states involved in the international alliance against ISIS such as Australia, Britain, and France ask permission from the Iraqi government when attacking ISIS in Iraq while not doing the same in Syria.

Lavrov went on to cite another example the West’s double standards regarding Syria, saying that the West acknowledges the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad when that serves the West’s interests, such as when the chemical weapons issue emerged and when it was resolved after Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, and now, a year after that, the West doesn’t acknowledge President al-Assad’s legitimacy as the chemical weapons issue isn’t considered a threat anymore.

The Minister attributed Western politicians’ insistence to maintain their positions that call for overthrowing the Syrian government to their fear of losing face, which prevents them from changing their positions, adding that while the West is listening to Russia’s ideas, its politicians have effectively painted themselves into a corner when they said that President al-Assad has no place in Syria’s future.

He asserted that war on terrorism will become more effective when it is coordinated, unbiased, doesn’t employ double standards, and arranges priorities properly, noting that all Western partners are aware that ISIS is the real threat in the Middle East and North Africa, but this needs to be translated into practical action on the ground, adding that the war on ISIS will be long and difficult, but the situation in the region will not deescalate without resolving this threat.

Lavrov also underlined the connection between the increase of refugees going to Europe and the escalating threat of terrorism, expecting that more refugees will flee in search of security and stability, adding that some refuse to admit the real reasons for this phenomenon which are the crimes committed by terrorist organizations like ISIS as well as the economic sanctions imposed by the EU on Syria which have had a negative impact on the living conditions of Syrian civilians.

Hazem Sabbagh

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