Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana
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12 march / 2018

On the recent developments in Syria

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains difficult. Given these circumstances, Russia continues to deploy multidimensional efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both by directly bringing in humanitarian supplies, and facilitating the work of international humanitarian bodies.

Russia has repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities. This is the goal of the agreements by guarantor countries under the Astana process – Russia, Turkey and Iran. Efforts are underway to implement these agreements. However, such work is not going smoothly because of active resistance by terrorists and extremists who are doing their best to disrupt the processes of establishing peaceful life and who do not want to see Syria a united, sovereign and independent state.

Clearly, the situation in each of the above problem areas has its own specifics. The attempts to put the entire burden of responsibility solely on the official Syrian authorities are groundless. It is clear fr om past experience that many of our Western colleagues tend to avoid thoughtful analysis of developments in Syria. They already know in advance who is to blame for everything.

Raqqa has turned into a ghost city in the wake of massive bombardment by the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition in the autumn of 2017. More than 80 per cent of the buildings in this city have been destroyed. The mine clearance effort is moving very slowly. In fact, no one is doing it.

Rukban camp located next to the border with Jordan cannot be accessed, because it is located inside a “security area” which was illegally and without prior arrangement created by the United States. In fact, the US troops have this area under their control.

The escalation of tension outside Afrin, wh ere no Syrian government troops are present at the moment, was caused by the United States supporting its “clients” despite Washington's assurances of supporting Syria’s territorial integrity.

On the night of 9 to 10 February, and on the morning of 10 February, Israeli aircraft dealt several missile strikes on targets in Syria, including those on the border of the de-escalation zone in the south-west of the Republic. The loss among the Syrians and the material damage resulting from these attacks are yet to be confirmed. In Moscow these developments caused serious apprehension. Of particular concern is the danger of escalating tension within and around de-escalation zones in Syria, the creation of which has become an important factor in reducing violence.

In this regard, the Russian Federation urges all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana