Lavrov: evacuation from Eastern ghouta was accompanied by a campaign to support militants

MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. The evacuation from Eastern ghouta (suburb of Damascus) was accompanied by an information campaign in support of the militants. This was stated on Thursday Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov following talks with special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Syria Staffan de Mistura.

“Unfortunately, the surgery – and we are used to it – was accompanied by a veiled campaign to support militants, – said Lavrov. – In the course were information about the famine resulting from the siege, indiscriminate bombing, including use of prohibited types of ammunition. Again speculation about the Syrian army using chemical weapons, despite the absurdity of such allegations even from a military-tactical point of view.”

“Then he talked about the alleged mass arrests and killings of those who came out of Eastern ghouta that is sounded all the same allegations that we have heard during the operation to liberate Aleppo and which were myths,” continued the Minister.

The Russian foreign Minister also drew attention to the fact that “the humanitarian agencies, both directly by observing the exit of civilians from Eastern ghouta and knowledgeable about the situation not from the reports of the “white helmets” and summaries of all kinds of observatories of British origin, have not confirmed such speculation and praised the actions of the Russian military.” “This is supported by evidence escaped from captivity of terrorists, residents of Eastern ghouta”, he added.

About the integrity of Syria

Russia believes that the restoration of peace in the district of Afrin will happen while maintaining the principle of Syria’s territorial integrity, Lavrov said.

“Attempts by our American colleagues to speculate on the Kurdish factor, and attempts to create a cordon Sanitaire with the use of the Kurdish forces has led to what we are seeing now in Afrin, he said. – We insist that the parties to the conflict were to agree, and hope that Affleck will return to a normal life while preserving the principle of territorial integrity of Syria.”

The Minister also recalled the UN security Council resolution 2254, which requires a political settlement involving all ethnic and religious groups of Syria. “We are convinced that no Kurdish people no conflict in this region in the countries in which Kurds live, resolved to not be”, – said Lavrov.

The General staff of the Turkish armed forces announced on 20 January on the beginning of “operation Olive branch” against the Kurdish forces of the “people’s self-defense Forces” (coalition “Forces of democratic Syria”) and the party “Democratic Union” in Afrin, where there are about 1.5 million Kurds and refugees from other areas of Syria. These organizations Ankara considers a terrorist. On 18 March, the General staff of the Turkish armed forces announced that the city of Afrin under control, on March 24, the military said on controlling the entire region of Afrin in the North-West of Syria.

The number of zones of de-escalation

Plans to expand the number of zones of de-escalation in Syria at the moment, Lavrov said.

“Zones of de-escalation saved as a result of the agreements between Russia, Turkey and Iran, South-West zone was formed with the participation of Russia, the US and Jordan. There are no plans at this stage at least, to expand the number of these areas,” – said the Minister.

“Right now the work we have completed in East ghouta, that managed to release 90% of the territory, allows to expect that the cessation of hostilities, which was originally announced for this as for other areas of de-escalation, will be restored. He was disturbed because the militants “Jaish al-Islam”, “Falak ar-Rahman”, “Ahrar al-sham” has violated its obligations, which were taken in the framework of the agreement on the establishment of a zone of de-escalation in Eastern ghouta, and instead to dissociate themselves from “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” (banned in the Russian terrorist group – approx. TASS), as they promised, they merged with it into a unified command, created the joint staff, to be in arms against the government army, – noticed Lavrov. Now these violations are stopped and I am convinced that in the near future a peaceful life in Eastern ghouta will recover quickly”.

“As for Idlib, there is also a difficult situation. There is hope, and no serious clashes. But this issue will be one of the agenda items of the summit (of Russia, Iran and Turkey – approx. TASS), which will be held in Ankara on 4 April,” – said Lavrov.

In September last year, the guarantor countries of the Astana process (Russia, Iran and Turkey) have announced the creation of four zones of de-escalation in Syria: in the South-West of the country, in the Eastern ghouta (suburb of Damascus) and near the city of HOMS. In the fourth zone included the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring provinces of Aleppo, Latakia and Hama.