Russia Says Syrian Groups Breaching Truce Will be Targeted
Sergei Lavrov held talks on Thursday with his counterpart Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Nasser Judeh on the latest developments in the Middle East and ways to address them.
The two diplomats reiterated keenness to press ahead with coordination and consultation between the two countries, especially on issues of mutual interest.
Russia's foreign minister says opposition groups in Syria failing to respect a truce brokered by Moscow and Washington must be targeted.
Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that it will be "counterproductive" to keep waiting for opposition groups to abide by the cease-fire that went into effect on Feb. 27, adding they must bear full responsibility for violations.
The Islamic State group and al-Qaida's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, are not covered by the truce. Russia has demanded that other opposition groups, which Washington considers moderate, leave areas controlled by Nusra. Russia set a deadline for Syrian opposition units to withdraw from areas occupied by Nusra, but then agreed to give them more time to pull out.
Despite the truce, fighting has continued to rage in many areas in Syria.
Many months have passed since the UN Security Council approved the ISSG decisions – more time than was necessary for any armed group to make a choice – to join the ceasefire or not. Therefore, we expressed this idea to our American partners, as the leader of the coalition, and reminded them that it will be counterproductive to continue waiting, given our shared counterterrorism objectives.
All armed groups that either have not joined the ceasefire or have joined it but fail to observe it should bear full responsibility for this on a par with Jabhat-al-Nusra and ISIS. I hope that our US partners that agreed with this logic will join us in practical terms in order to prevent the current developments from being used to consolidate the positions of terrorists "on the ground".