Lavrov: More Westerns prefer Assad to rule Syria

Lavrov: More Westerns prefer Assad to rule Syria
Fri Dec 20, 2013 17:39:06

Russian Foreign Minister says Western diplomats are increasingly saying that President Bashar al-Assad keeping power is a better option for Syria than the country being ruled by extremist militants.

"Not only in private meetings but also in public comments, the idea is occurring to some Western colleagues that ... Assad remaining in office is less of a threat for Syria than a takeover of the country by terrorists," Sergei Lavrov told RIA news agency in an interview published on Friday.

Russia has been a strong critic of West’s support to the war in Syria which has absorbed extremist militants from across the world and killed more than 120,000 people according to UN.

A recent report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) said miltiants from 73 countries fight in Syria.

A September report by the American Pentapolis Agency also said at least 130 thousand non-Syrian militants in the deadly conflict in the Arab country.

Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been attacking towns and villages in different parts of Syria and imposing their own rule on people.

Many people have lost their lives in al-Qaeda executions, including children.

Moscow has been trying to bring the two sides of the Syrian conflict to the negotiation table to help end the war.

However the deeply divided Syrian opposition, which enjoys support from the Western and some regional countries, has been changing stance over the conference with refusing them or setting pre-conditions that Syrian government has said will never accept.

Setting a time for departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is one of the most disputed issues, insisted by the opposition, and strongly rejected by the government.

According to a report by the Reuters, Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace talks, scheduled to be held on January 22, may not lead to the removal of Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration.

The message, delivered to senior members of the so-called Syrian National Coalition at a meeting of the anti-Assad Friends of Syria alliance in London last week, was prompted by rise of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and their takeover of a border crossing and arms depots near Turkey belonging to the so-called Free Syrian Army, sources told Reuters.


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