15 Sep 2017 18:49

Syrian opposition should stop drop attempts to form joint "army" to topple govt in Damascus - Russian rep

ASTANA. Sept 15 (Interfax) - Russia is calling on the Syrian opposition to drop the idea of creating a joint Syrian national army to overthrow the authorities in Damascus, the Russian president's special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said.

"One cannot ignore attempts by some opposition groups to create some joint structures under the sign of a Syrian national army. In our view, this is unlikely to lead to greater efficiency in combating DAESH and Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist organizations, banned in Russia] since overthrowing the legitimate, internationally recognized authorities in Damascus was still declared as their main goal," Lavrentyev told a press conference in Astana on Friday.

"So we called on the opposition to nevertheless review their approaches with respect to a constructive position," he said.

"We are urging them to demonstrate constructivism and a refusal to set knowingly unrealistic demands. Of course, we also take into account the opposition request to revive the process of releasing hostages, prisoners, handing over the bodies of those killed, and to that end we will make additional efforts," Lavrentyev said.