Lavrov: Western alliance hasn’t been effective on the ground against terrorism

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that all the counter-terrorism actions taken by Russia in Syria are done based on the request of the Syrian leadership and are carried out openly, and that Russia is committed to its call for uniting all efforts seeking to combat international terrorism.

In a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister of Laos held on Monday in Moscow, Lavrov stressed that the Syrian Arab Army is the only force capable of combating terrorism on the group effectively.

He also said that Moscow is prepared to contact the “Free Army” in Syria if it actually has an presence on the ground, but it seems that it’s actually imaginary, explaining that he asked U.S. State Secretary John Kerry to provide any information about its locations and leaders, but so far no-one has informed Russia about where and how the so-called “moderate opposition” is operating.

The Russian Minister noted that the alliance against ISIS announced by the Americans more than a year ago and its countless airstrikes in Syria have not shown any real effectiveness on the ground, with the U.S. itself evaluating the results of these airstrikes as modest.

He also pointed out to the Americans’ failure in training the “moderate opposition” in Syria.

Lavrov said that the U.S. claims that the Syrian army isn’t fighting ISIS are far from logical, and that preventing the Syrian army from entering areas where the Western alliance are carrying out airstrikes means that these areas will be occupied by new terrorist organizations.

The Minister went on to reiterate Russia’s readiness to cooperate with all sides that are committed to combating terrorism.

He said that attempts to topple the Syrian government violate the Security Council resolution which approved the 2012 Geneva communiqué, and that statements made by certain Western capitals, which said that if the situation in Syria continues this would warrant military intervention, violate international law.

He pointed out that Russia is announcing its actions against ISIS in Syria via daily press conferences to detail ISIS sites that are being targeted, and that he hasn’t heard any talk of the U.S. or any other side’s intention to confront Russia in Syria.

The Russian Minister said that there’s ongoing communication with the American side on the level of presidents regarding the situation in Syria, in addition to talks between defense ministries to prevent any conflict between Russian and American forces.

He also refuted Western media claims that Russian aircrafts are targeting civilians, asserting that Russia is facing such malicious propaganda by providing documented facts and evidence of the sites targeted by the Russian Air Force.

Lavrov warned against the falsification carried out by some formerly-respectable media outlets in the past when they showed images of events that supposedly took place in Syria, and later those events turned out to have taken place in Iraq or Ukraine or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Hazem Sabbagh

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