Support peaceful settlement in Syria, but will fight terror: Russia

Moscow, Oct 28 (IANS) Russia and Iran support a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria but the fight against terrorism should continue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Addressing the media after a trilateral meeting with his Iranian and Syrian counterparts Javad Zarif and Walid Al-Muallem here, Lavrov said that Moscow and Tehran support Syria’s sovereignty, the fight against terrorism and the restoration of the country’s economy.

Moscow, Tehran and Damascus also agree that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement in Syria, he added, reports Sputnik new agency.

Noting neither Russian, nor Syrian warplanes have been conducting operations in Syria’s Aleppo for ten days, Lavrov also criticised the US for not persuading the “moderate” Syrian opposition distance itself from Islamist terrorists during the pause in the fighting.

“We hoped that humanitarian pauses and the stop of airstrikes will be used by our American partners to convince the so-called moderate opposition to separate from al-Nusra Front and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which are in fact those who lead all groups of armed opposition in eastern Aleppo. Moreover terrorists have closed the exit from the city via humanitarian corridors for civilians,” he said.

He also denied Russian involvement in an attack on a school in Syria’s Idlib, claiming over 20 lives, terming as “fabricated”, the Western data, accusing Moscow and Damascus of striking the school.

“The Russian Defence Ministry published facts, which refute these accusations and show that the information is fabricated,” Lavrov said.

On the ongoing operation to retake Iraq’s Mosul from the IS, he said both Russia and Iraq are interested taking measures to stop militants from fleeing to Syria from the northern Iraqi city. He added that Moscow sees no difference between the situation in Aleppo and that in Mosul.

Muallem said that Damascus will continue the fight against terrorism and vowed that Aleppo will be liberated.

Meanwhile, Zarif, on arriving in Moscow for the meeting, told media at the airport that “unfortunately, some countries have sought military solutions to Syria crisis, while the way to settle this problem is political approaches as well as fighting the Takfiri groups (Islamist extremists)”, reported Xinhua news agency.

“We have always insisted on comprehensive ceasefire, availability of humanitarian aid (to the besieged people) and finding political solutions to the Syrian issue,” he added.