The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the U.S.-Turkish agreement to train, equip, and arm what Washington calls “moderate opposition” is a continuation of the previous course of supporting those who want to use force to reach their goals, neglecting the victims of conflict and the suffering of civilians.
In a statement on Friday, the Ministry said that this agreement entails training Syrian armed units belonging to “moderate opposition” in Turkey as part of a program with a budget of USD 500 million launched by the U.S. which entails training 5,000 opposition fighters per year by 400 professional U.S. trainers in Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
The Ministry said that this information raises questions about the public statements that the Syrian crisis must be resolved by political means while in fact the previous approach of supporting those who want to reach their goals by use of force, asserting that the announced goal of this agreement, which is allegedly to have them fight ISIS, is dubious, and ignores the Syrian Army as usual when in fact it is the true force that is combating terrorism.
The statement noted that there’s no clear indication as to where these fighters will be active and which side they will take.
The Ministry reiterated Russia’s determination to continue working towards an urgent political settlement in Syria, saying that communications will be held with opposition groups within the next few days and new consultative meetings have been scheduled similar to the one held in Moscow in January.
Lavrov: Foreign interference caused outbreak of extremism, terrorism
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the foreign interference in the affairs the Middle East countries and the nonchalance about the future of their people have caused extremism and terrorism to spread.
He attributed the current state of affairs in a number of countries [in the region] to the blatant interference in its internal affairs. “This flagrant interference and the disregard for the fate of peoples have caused extremism and terrorism to metastasize.”
During his meeting with Patriarch John X Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East who is on a visit to Russia, Lavrov reiterated that Russia is working on reaching a peaceful solution to the crises in Syria and Yemen and on stabilizing the situation in Iraq, adding that Moscow is very worried over the situation in Libya.
For his part, Patriarch Yazigi expressed appreciation for the Russian stances and efforts exerted to reach a peaceful settlement to problems in the Middle East region.
Following the meetings, Patriarch Yazigi granted Lavrov medal of Saints Paul & Peter, a prestigious religious medal, for his efforts to bring about peace and in appreciation for the Russian role in providing humanitarian and political aid to the countries of the region.
Mohammad Nassr/Manal Ismael