Syria Partition Plans Must Be Foiled – Lavrov

During an interview with the television and radio company of Kazakhstan’s President, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has commented on a wide range of issues: from the situation in Syria to Skripal’s poisoning and beyond.
While stressing that the level of violence in Syria has significantly decreased, the foreign minister emphasized that “the process of deescalation in Eastern Ghouta could start only if the militants stopped shelling Damascus.”

“This process has not been underway for a very long time, now there seems to be some hope that these armed formations will separate from Jabhat al-Nusra, ” Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, any plans on Syria’s partitions should be abandoned.

“I do not think that we should even talk about a potential partition of Syria, but it is our duty to demand that these plans be immediately foiled, some bear it,” the minister said in an interview with the television and radio company of the president of Kazakhstan.

The decrease of violence in the country was discussed during a ministerial meeting on Syria between the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey as part of the Astana reconciliation process.

“Those armed groups that could be a part of the negotiating process are, unfortunately, operating under the umbrella of Jabhat Fatal al Sham. They created a joint command and in fact three groups: Faylaq al-Rahman, Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham — became allies of Jabhat Fatal al Sham, which is designated by the UN Security Council as a terror organization,” Lavrov said, adding that Russian servicemen were urging the three groups to distance themselves from the terrorists.

He has also condemned illegitimate presence of foreign forces in Syria, saying that it “contradicted international law and the UN Charter.”

“US, French, UK special forces are ‘on the ground’ in Syria. So it is not a ‘proxy war’ anymore, but direct engagement in the warfare,” Lavrov added.

Furthermore, the foreign minister said that the Americans are “planting local authorities” on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River.

“What is happening on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River, where Americans have indeed liberated vast territories from terrorists with the help of the Kurds, but plant local authorities, who are intentionally isolating themselves from Damascus, and declare that they will support these authorities without any contacts with the Syrian government,” he said.

Earlier this week, the minister stated that the progress achieved at the Astana talks on Syria, including due to Russia’s efforts, was not being welcomed by those striving to divide the country into small territories under their control.

“Those who, in violation of all norms of international law, in violation of Resolution 2254, obviously seek to divide Syria, to replace the regime so that this important Middle Eastern country is replaced by small principalities, controlled by external players, certainly do not welcome what we are doing in Astana, we are trying to achieve in Astana,” Lavrov said in a welcoming speech before the talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Astana.

Since 2014, the US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against terrorists in Syria without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
sputnik