30 Sep 2017 14:54

Russia seeking to liberate Syria's Deir ez-Zor "extremely carefully" - Federation Council's Klintsevich

MOSCOW. Sept 30 (Interfax) - The Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor could be completely liberated from terrorists within the next one or two months, Russian Federation Council Defense and Security Committee first deputy head Franz Klintsevich said.

"A serious military operation is under way, there is a huge experience of interaction, and there is substantial support from our Aerospace Forces. Not to be insincere, I'd say I believe we will complete this operation within a month or two, not more," Klintsevich told Interfax on Saturday.

Russia is working to liberate Deir ez-Zor "extremely carefully, with surgical precision, so as not to harm civilians and not to harm the infrastructure, so as to do this gradually and consistently," he said.

"U.S. special services are obstructing this by coordinating activities of terrorist organizations banned in Russia and providing them with various kinds of support, including fire support, and so making things more difficult to us," he said.

Klintsevich said he had attended an international conference dealing with the combat against terrorism and extremism in Eurasia in Dushanbe on Friday, at which he made a presentation on possible terrorist threats to Eurasian countries.

"We were quite unanimous in determining the trend that the U.S. is demonstrating today from the standpoint of redeploying its forces and resources from Syria to Afghanistan. And we perfectly understand that they will pursue a strategy of which [President Donald] Trump has said, that is, fight the Taliban. And the Taliban has an extremely negative attitude toward ISIL [a terrorist organization banned in Russia], which would focus its aspirations on Central and Middle Asia in the future," Klintsevich said.

The possible destabilization of these regions would eventually affect Russia's interests, he said.

"We anticipate such things and perfectly understand that nothing has changed in the U.S.' double standards, that they say one things, but in fact their democracy is quite different. The Russophobic position toward Russia and the desire to destabilize it haven't gone anywhere," he said.

Considering these threats, it is important to maintain interaction between the special services, the military, and the law enforcement agencies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), he said.