Russia on Conflict in Syria

Russia has always advocated stopping the bloodshed in Syria. In this conflict no one benefits from our unconditional or any other support, except for the Syrian people.

Today, the biggest threat for this country, Iraq and the Middle East as a whole is the so-called Islamic State. Russia is providing military-technical support to the Syrian government so that it can counter this threat. The same goes for providing military-technical assistance to the Iraqi government for fighting the same Islamic State.There is every reason to believe that without this kind of support these terrorist groups could have seized much larger territories, counting in the hundreds and thousands of square kilometres.

Russia supports the commitment to working with all the representatives of the Syrian people with no exception, including the government and all opposition groups, without pinpointing or favouring anyone. The Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012 clearly states that political settlement and the resolution of the Syrian crisis in general should be based on an inclusive dialogue spanning the entire Syrian political spectrum, and all issues should be settled by common consent.

Moscow has hosted two inter-Syria dialogue meetings. All opposition activists were invited, including those from inside Syria and operating abroad. At the final stage of these meetings, representatives of the Syrian government joined in, which led to the approval of the so-called Moscow Platform. It sets forth principles that fully reflect the Geneva Communique’s aim of preserving Syria as a unified country, ensuring its territorial integrity, sovereignty and secularity, so that the rights of all ethnic and religious minorities and groups are protected by law. At the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, the US and Qatar, the participants discussed ways of supporting the efforts of Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, aiming to create favourable conditions to implement agreements contained in the Geneva Communique.

When a year ago the United States announced that it was creating a coalition to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Russian side stressed that this approach was illegitimate and counterproductive. It reflected a violation of international law in principle, while in practical terms it created an obstacle to shaping a united front in the struggle against terrorist groups.

According to this plan, certain US-trained armed units  could act without any coordination with the Syrian government and be protected by the coalition aircraft authorised to deliver strikes at any forces that could be regarded as an obstacle to operations of these armed groups. Besides, the practice of US instructors training militants from the so-called “moderate opposition” in the territory of neighbouring countries led to a situation where the overwhelming majority of those militants turned up in the camp of the extremists. In this regard, Russia calls for an immediate cessation of foreign interference into the Syrian crisis in strict keeping with the Geneva Communique and the principles set forth by the UN Security Council. The parties to the Syrian conflict should begin negotiations and reach an agreement only through a peaceful political process based on mutual consent.

It is generally admitted that in the fight against terrorism air strikes alone are not enough and that a like-minded coalition should be formed to include those who are opposing the terrorist threat on the ground with arms in hand.This is the gist of the initiative which Russian President Vladimir Putin presented during his meeting with Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud in St. Petersburg in June.The initiative is about forming a unified anti-terrorist front that would combine the efforts of all forces fighting the terrorists on the ground including countries capable of rendering support in this struggle.

Without reaching understanding among external players, each of whom has some influence on one or another party in Syria, it is very difficult to expect the political process to begin in earnest and remain stable and successful.

Embassy Of Russia

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