MOSCOW, February 15. Russia will continue to strike at targets of terrorist groups “Islamic state” and “dzhebhat EN-nusra” in any case, even if we manage to agree on a ceasefire in Syria. This was stated by Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
“We are fighting against terrorist groups – ISIL (the former name of the terrorist group “Islamic state” (IG) – approx.), “Dzhebhat EN-nusra” and others associated with “al-Qaeda”, – the diplomat said, the Attacks on the terrorist groups will continue in any case, even if we manage to agree on a ceasefire in Syria. After all, the point is that the ceasefire be extended to those who are really interested in the beginning of the negotiation process, not the terrorists.”
The position of the West regarding Russia’s actions
Gatilov also noted that the West has no evidence that the Russian space forces air strikes not only positions, but also civilian targets, including hospitals.
“As for the claims that we put air strikes against targets other than ISIS, is that there is no evidence,” he said.
However, the diplomat noted that a number of non-commercial organizations (NCOs) provides information on Russian airstrikes on civilian targets, which is not true. “There is a lot of information from NGOs that is untrue. Take the so-called “Syrian Observatory” – actually it’s the people sitting in London and collects unconfirmed reports”, – said Gatilov.
About Russia’s objectives in Syria
The Deputy foreign Minister added that Russia’s actions in Syria are aimed at establishing peace in the region and the beginning of the negotiation process. “Our actions are not due to self-serving goals, he stressed. – In March will be 5 years since the beginning of this conflict. Our main goal is the establishment of peace in Syria and the beginning of the negotiation process, in which Syrians themselves will determine the future of their country”.
Gatilov also said that Russia does not want “anyone to impose their will”. “However, we are interested in stability in the region”, – continued the diplomat.
“The settlement in Syria would have a positive impact on neighbouring countries: Palestine, Libya, Iraq and its instability, the North the African continent, – said the diplomat. – In all of these countries applies the terrorist threat. This is an extremely dangerous trend and we need to work together”.
Assessment of the actions of Ankara
According to Gennady Gatilov, the resolution of the crisis in Syria is hindered by a rigid attitude and non-constructive actions of Ankara. “Ankara wants to be in Northern Syria has been controlled by Turkey established a buffer zone, – the diplomat said. – Would like to see Turkey play a more constructive role”.
From Russia with support
As the aircraft of the Russian Federation helps to fight with terrorists in Syria
According to him, the Turkish side has supplied weapons to the grouping of the IG. “It is recorded by our observers and satellites, he said. – It is a fact. Everyone knows that ISIS is exporting oil across the border with Turkey”.
Gatilov pointed to a tough stance of Turkey in the issue of the Kurds to the Syrian negotiations. “The Kurds are an important part of Syrian society, they have a military force on the ground fighting against ISIS and other terrorist groups, – noted the Deputy foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. They have every right to participate in the negotiation process. Unfortunately, the connection of the Kurds rests on the tough stance of Turkey”.
“Turkey strongly objected and even threatened to withdraw from dialogue, – said the diplomat. – As of the following date (the special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Syria Staffan) de Mistura appointed on 25 February. Hopefully, by this time, we will be able breakthrough”.
“Much depends on Turkey, said the Gatilov. – Unfortunately, its position at the moment is not constructive. Ankara has its own ambitions, its own agenda in the region.”
On the possible departure of Bashar al Assad as President
The Deputy foreign Minister said that Bashar al-Assad as President of Syria at the moment will lead to the disintegration of the country. “Bashar Assad is a legitimate President. The Americans not once we were asked: let’s decide who will rule Syria. Such things we never did. It should be decided by the Syrians themselves,” – said Gatilov. According to him, held in 2014 elections has not stopped the conflict in Syria because the terrorist threat increased.
“As odious as the leader of the Bashar al-Assad, around it still rallies a significant portion of Syrian society – said the diplomat. – A lot of support. Of course, he also fears for his fate and for the fate of their environment. If he left now, Syria as a state finally would have fallen apart. At it today similarly look even Americans.”
The Syrian conflict and the main stages of its settlement
“They (the US) believe that now is not the time to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad, – continued the Deputy Minister. – Now we need to fight terror. The military situation on the ground has changed. With Russian support, the Syrian army has advanced considerably. She freed dozens of settlements”.
Gatilov called short-sighted policy of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries that support Assad’s opponents. “We need politically to negotiate,” he said.
“We must preserve Syria as a sovereign state. It is impossible that it was broken, – said the Deputy Minister. – Earlier in Syria, all groups coexisted perfectly. If the country disintegrates, we will see something similar to the situation in Libya, where all attempts at reconciliation remain fruitless”.
However, Sergey Lavrov said that the Syrian government had committed a lot of mistakes, and then intervened from the outside. “Bashar al-Assad could have prevented the escalation, if held on time in democratic reforms, – the diplomat said. – However, in the absence of this conflict continued to grow. This attracted the attention of terrorist groups, created for them a nourishing environment.”