Lavrov: Purpose of Russian military operation in Syria is combating terrorism

New York, SANA-Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated on Thursday that the target behind Russian military operations in Syria is combating the Islamic State (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations.

“The purpose of the Russian military process in Syria is fighting terrorism, not supporting any side,” Lavrov said at a press conference in New York, adding that the Russian air force targets in Syria depots and oil of ISIS.

“We have clearly said that our operations in Syria came in response to a request by President Bashar al-Assad and in light of a decision by Russian Federation Council and the Russian constitution as well,” Lavrov affirmed.

He added that the western coalition has no legal reference to act in the Syrian territories; neither can it carry out operations on lands of a sovereign country without going to the government of this state or to Security Council.

“Since the outbreak of crisis in Syria, Russia cooperates with China to prevent other sides from taking extremist stances, including the use of force against Syria,” Lavrov said.

As for differences between Russia and the US about how to settle the crisis in Syria, Lavrov affirmed that the last meeting between Presidents Putin and Obama has been held within a constructive atmosphere where the two sides exchanged viewpoints in a clear way and there was an understanding between them, but, adding Lavrov, it didn’t lead in any way to full cooperation.

“Settling the crisis in Syria requires reviewing Geneva communiqué context which stipulates transitional body on which the Americans say that President al-Assad has to leave, but we call on them to review this article of the communiqué as this should depend on the full acceptance by all Syrian sides,” Lavrov said.

He considered that any statements about illegitimacy of the Syrian regime are “hypocrisy” as they have considered it legitimate when talks were focusing on settling the chemical weapons files, but when they were asked to cooperate with the legitimate government after eliminating the chemical weapons, they don’t want to go to this government.

He saw that having the initiative of UN Envoy to Syria succeed requires a support by all international players, including the US, Russia, China and other regional countries.

Mazen Eyon

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