Lavrov: US never planned to separate terrorists from “moderate opposition” in Syria

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the United States never planned to separate terrorists from the so-called “moderate opposition” in Syria.

In an interview given to BBC World, Lavrov said that while Washington had taken it upon itself to separate the opposition from terrorists in Syria within the framework of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), it never managed to do so, adding that there’s increasing evidence that suggests to Russia that Washington had planned from the start to protect Jabhat al-Nusra terror organization and shield it from strikes in order to use it later for the purpose of toppling the Syrian government.

The Russian Minister noted that Washington never targeted any positions of al-Nusra, and that he broached this issue several times with US State Secretary John Kerry who had said repeatedly that the US will separate the “opposition” from terrorists only after the Russian and Syrian operations stop, adding that several humanitarian truces were announced in Aleppo upon requests from the UN, and every time al-Nusra exploited these truces to receive reinforcements, weapons, and equipment from abroad.

He asserted that the Russian-US agreement on Syria will only bear fruit if the “opposition” is separated from terrorists, noting that the truce never covered ISIS or al-Nusra.

Lavrov said the situation in Aleppo is moving along the current scenario due to the failure of the US-led international coalition to separate the so-called opposition from al-Nusra, noting that rather than disavow al-Nusra, more “opposition factions” are rallying under its leadership.

He noted that whenever Russia targets al-Nusra, there are those who claim that there are “good guys” in areas where al-Nusra is positioned, saying that this is a vicious circle.

The Minister noted that Moscow is still waiting for a reaction from Washington to the statements made by the so-called “Riyadh opposition” who said that al-Nusra isn’t a terrorist organization.

Regarding the humanitarian situation in Aleppo and how to deliver aid, Lavrov said it’s impossible to use al-Castello road for delivering aid convoys because the “opposition” there have threatened to open fire on them.

As for the attack on the aid convoy in Aleppo on September 19th, Lavrov demanded that in-depth investigations be conducted, stressing the need to provide hard evidence before accusing the Russian Aerospace Forces falsely, adding that the UN have launched an investigation.

He also asserted that the Russian army takes stringent measures to ensure that no civilians are caught in its line of fire.

Lavrov then addressed the statements of US State Department spokesman John Kirby who said warned Russia that it will suffer losses, endanger its interests, and it will be targeted by terrorism if it continues its operations in Syria, asserting that these statements constitute unacceptable threats, or maybe a signal for certain parties to wage attacks on Russia.

Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov affirmed to Kerry during a phone call that Moscow is still open to dialogue with Washington regarding resolving the crisis in Syria.

Hazem Sabbagh

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