Russia supports De Mistura's offer to escort militants out of Aleppo: Lavrov
Iran Press TV
Thu Oct 6, 2016 3:49PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed Moscow's interest in a proposal put forward by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura about escorting Takfiri terrorists out of the divided Syrian city of Aleppo.
Russian officials are carefully studying De Mistura's offer, Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in Moscow on Thursday.
The remarks came hours after the UN envoy said that if members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, lay down their arms "in dignity" and leave Aleppo, he would "personally" accompany them out.
Elsewhere in his comments, Lavrov noted that Moscow was studying France's draft resolution on the crisis in Syria, which was submitted to the UN Security Council.
"We are ready to work on this text" provided it does not contradict the Moscow-Washington ceasefire agreement on Syria or other UN resolutions, he said, stressing that his country would propose its own amendments to the draft resolution, hoping they would be taken into consideration.
The week-long truce, mediated by the US and Russia, came to an end last month.
Damascus, however, refused to extend the deal after a deadly US-led air raid on its military base near the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr in violation of the agreement. Syria also reported numerous truce breaches by different militant groups.
Commenting on the recent deployment of the Russian-made S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria, Lavrov assured that they were purely for defensive purposes and did not pose any threat to anyone.
"We simply need to ensure the safety and security of our military personnel … our naval maintenance facility in the [Syrian] port of Tartus at this point while the situation is still extremely volatile," he said.
Russia warns US against attacking Syrian soldiers
In a relevant development on Thursday, Russia cautioned the US against striking positions held by Syrian government forces and said Moscow was ready to use its air defense systems to protect them.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said that any missile attack or airstrike on the territories controlled by the Damascus government would pose a clear threat to Russian military personnel.
"Operators of Russian air defense systems won't have time to identify the origin of airstrikes, and the response will be immediate. Any illusions about invisible jets will inevitably be crushed by disappointing reality," Konashenkov added.
He further voiced concerns about latest media reports, according to which Washington is considering strikes on the Syrian government troops, adding, "As history has shown, such leaks often prove to be a preface to real action."
Since March 2011, Syria has been hit by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies. Moscow and Washington support opposing sides in the crisis.
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