4 Oct 2017 11:51

U.S.-led coalition stages fatal provocations against Russian troops in Syria - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) - The U.S.-led coalition in Syria inspires terrorists into attacks and stages fatal provocations against Russian servicemen, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The US-led forces' activities in Syria cause many questions. In some cases these forces mount allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which the Islamic State counterattacks, in other cases they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or stage fatal provocations against our military personnel. I would also mention numerous "accidental" strikes against civilian infrastructure that have taken hundreds of civilian lives," Lavrov said in an interview with the Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab newspaper ahead of the Russian visit of Saudi King Salman al-Saud.

"We are concerned over - and we have spoken openly of this concern of ours - the tactic of half-measures pursued by the United States and their allies," Lavrov said.

"When double standards are applied, when terrorists are divided into the "bad" and the "not so bad" ones, when the coalition recruits its members on political grounds disregarding the need for the UNSC approval of its activities, one can hardly expect an effective fight against terrorism. It was the strikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Army to which the Islamic State [banned in Russia] started to yield," he said.

"From the point of view of Syrians and international law, this coalition is a gatecrasher in Syria. The government of Syria demonstrates tolerance as long as the coalition's activities are aimed at countering terrorists in the territory of this country," Lavrov said.

"Our participation in the fight against ISIS is aimed at both ensuring the national security of Russia and strengthening global and regional security," Lavrov said.

"The use of force alone is not enough to eradicate terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. We are convinced of that. Our policy has an advantage, as it is not intended to serve vested interests and has no hidden agenda," he said.

"In this context, we will further expand our efforts to settle numerous crises and conflicts in the region through peaceful political and diplomatic means. We would also welcome everyone who is willing to engage in this joint honest work," Lavrov said in conclusion.