Russia ready to support Free Syrian Army

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow ready for aerial support to ‘patriotic opposition’ and cooperation with EU

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian state TV on Saturday that Russia is ready to support Free Syrian Army with air strikes and cooperate with the United States against militant groups.

“We are ready for such a profound coordination,” Lavrov said in an interview. "External players can not decide anything for the Syrians. We must force them to come up with a plan for their country where the interests of every religious, ethnic and political group will be well protected," Lavrov added.

Previously Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad visited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Following the meeting Putin said that Assad is ready to talk to the Syrian opposition, which Russian air strikes have been targeting since September 30.

After Putin, Lavrov stressed that Russia is ready to provide aerial support to Syrian “patriotic” opposition.

“We are ready to include the patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army, to provide it with aerial support, although we were declined information on where, according to US data, terrorists are located, and where is the patriotic opposition,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov stressed that the most important thing for Russia is to find those people who fight against militant groups.

“We never slam the door, we never pose as offended," Lavrov added.

"When a person refuses to talk on serious issues, a question arises, whether this person understands what is going on, whether a person has ideas on how to settle a problem. When our US colleagues come out with such initiatives, we always react and never avoid a conversation.”

Lavrov said that other countries at last started to realise the situation in Syria, despite their rhetoric aimed against Assad.

“They have the understanding of a dialogue, as well as the understanding that a dialogue without Russia’s participation can hardly result in peace in the region. In case, of course, all of us want peace in the region, but not continuing perturbations and states collapse, their weakening, regime changes… I hope not,” Lavrov said.

Cooperation with EU and US

Lavrov said that Moscow is searching for a “detached” way to cooperate with European Union after Syrian crisis.

“I hope that finally the European Union now understands that the ‘detached’ stance regarding the Syrian matters is unacceptable for it,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov told that a delegation led by Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev was refused by Washington and that John Kerry proposed to hold a meeting on the ministerial level in Vienna over the Syrian crisis.

"John Kerry told me: ‘You know, do not take it so literally, because we are in the process. So far, the conditions for such a contact are not prepared. Let's work on the ministerial level, and then we’ll be ready to consider your other ideas’," Lavrov said.

"We do not want to take into account the specific interests of either Bashar Assad, or of the opposition. We want to take into account the interests of Syria," Lavrov added.

According to Lavrov, Russia has discussed with Assad the prospects of finding a political solution to the crisis.

“He [Assad] is well aware of it [the necessity of political settlement] himself, and, by the way, he expressed a thought that the military phase of countering terrorism needs to be complemented by a consolidation of the healthy part of society and a beginning of a political process that would ensure the interests of all the Syrians without exception, of all ethnic and confessional preferences and political views – everybody in the state system and in the government,” Lavrov added.

TRTWorld and agencies