Russia: Some ISSG Members View Nusra Front as Tool

Russia: Some ISSG Members View Nusra Front as Tool
Tue May 17, 2016 20:31:51

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says some members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) view the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front terrorist group as a tool to deter the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lavrov made the remarks during a press conference alongside United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and US Secretary of State John Kerry after the ISSG meeting in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Tuesday.

Nusra Front is being seen as means to deter the incumbent Syrian government, Lavrov said, warning, “This is a dangerous turn of events.”

A nationwide Moscow-Washington mediated ceasefire, which began in Syria on February 27, has helped reduce violence, but fierce fighting has raged on over the past few weeks in some parts of Syria, especially the northwestern city of Aleppo. The terrorist groups of Daesh and Nusra Front were excluded from the truce.

The top Russian diplomat warned that Nusra Front is making “alliances with groups in the cessation of hostilities.”

In a statement following Tuesday’s meeting, the ISSG called on the international community to prevent any material or financial support from reaching Daesh and Nusra Front and dissuade any party to the truce from cooperating with the terrorists.

“The ISSG supports efforts by the co-chairs of the Ceasefire Task Force … to consider ways to deal decisively with the threat posed by Daesh and the Nusra Front to Syria and international security,” the statement read.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he stressed that no one is stronger than the Syrian army “on ground” in war-torn Syria, noting that Moscow is backing Syrian forces in their fight against terrorists.

Moscow expects that the obstacles to Kurds’ participation in the intra-Syrian talks will be eliminated in the near future, Lavrov added.

The latest round of UN-brokered indirect talks, which began in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 13, were brought to a halt after the main foreign-backed opposition group walked out of the discussions and declared a "new war" against the Syrian government.

The Russian minister also noted that Russia is in possession of evidence showing the terrorists in Syria are being supplied through Turkey, saying, “Some time ago, we circulated an unofficial document in the UN Security Council, in which we consolidated facts from open sources confirming this unseemly and unacceptable activity.”

Meanwhile, the UN envoy said that major powers have failed to agree on a new date for peace talks between Syria’s warring sides.

He, however, underlined the need for the resumption of the discussions aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict gripping the Arab country.

“The issue is still waiting for some type of concrete outcome of this meeting but we cannot wait too long, we want to keep the momentum,” he said.

During the ISSG Tuesday meeting, the participants agreed to try and turn Syria’s shaky pause in fighting into a comprehensive ceasefire.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that major world powers had agreed if possible to push for a resumption of Syria peace talks in Geneva by the start of June; Press TV reported.


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