FMs of Iran, Syria, Russia Give Joint Press Conference after Meeting in Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Iranian and Syrian counterparts, Javad Zarif and Walid Muallem, are giving a press conference following a meeting in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the fight against terrorism should continue and the warring sides should return to peaceful reconciliation.
Lavrov said that Moscow and Tehran support Syria's sovereignty, the fight against terrorism and the restoration of the country's economy. Moscow, Tehran and Damascus agree that the Syrian peaceful settlement has no alternatives.
He said that neither Russian, nor Syrian warplanes had been conducting operations in Syria's Aleppo for ten days.
Lavrov said that Russia hoped that the humanitarian pause in Aleppo would be used by the United States to separate terrorists from Syrian miliants.
"We hoped that humanitarian pauses and the stop of airstrikes will be used by our American partners to convince the so-called moderate opposition to separate from al-Nusra Front and Jabhat Fatah ash-Sham, which are in fact those who lead all groups of armed opposition in eastern Aleppo. Unfortunately, such a separation has not happened again. Moreover terrorists have closed the exit from the city via humanitarian corridors for civilians."
The foreign minister commented on the attack on a school in Syria's Idlib, claiming over 20 lives. He said that Western data, accusing Moscow and Damascus of striking the school is fabricated.
"The Russian Defense Ministry published facts, which refute these accusations and show that the information is fabricated," Lavrov said.
On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that no Russian aircraft have been in the area, adding that a US Predator drone has been registered in the area where the school had been attacked. The ministry added that video footage published in media showing the alleged strike on the Idlib school have been fabricated.
"Video footage published by a number of foreign media outlets of an alleged strike on the residential area of Hass [in Idlib] consists of more than 10 pieces pasted together, being shot at different times of the day," the ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
On Thursday, the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund [UNICEF] Anthony Lake said that as many as 22 children and six teachers were killed in an attack on a school in Idlib.
Moreover, he said that Moscow urges the UN not to listen to the "hysterical campaign of lies" on the situation in Aleppo.
Lavrov said that some "foreign players" use the Syrian conflict to achieve own goals. He emphasized that any aid to terrorists is prohibited and Moscow will insist on this rule in the United Nations, including during contacts with the United States.
The foreign minister commented on the operation to retake Mosul from Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISIS" / "ISIL"], saying that both Russia and Iraq are interested to take measures to stop militants from fleeing to Syria from the Iraqi city.
For his part, Syrian Foreign Minister Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that Damascus will continue the fight against terrorism and vowed that Aleppo will be liberated.
"We will not reduce our efforts in the fight against terrorism, liberate Aleppo from terrorists and restore the unity of the city. The humanitarian situation, of course, should be taken into account. During the truce in Aleppo, it became crystal clear who truly violated the ceasefire and with what intentions, as well as who prevents the evacuation of civilians and wounded."
He added that Russia and Iran promised to boost economic assistance to Syria.
However, prior to the three-way discussions, Zarif held a bilateral meeting with Lavrov to discuss regional issues and the further enhancement of bilateral Tehran-Moscow ties.
Upon his arrival at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow on Friday morning, Zarif said a political solution besides a serious fight against terrorism is the only way out of the crisis gripping Syria.
"Unfortunately, some countries have always pursued war and a military solution in Syria. This is while the solution to this crisis is of a political nature and also [entails] battles against Takfiri groups," said Zarif.
He added, "We have always emphasized the need for the establishment of an all-out ceasefire, humanitarian operations and efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian issue."
Ahead of Zarif's trip, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that Zarif and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, will discuss regional issues, the agenda of the bilateral Russian-Iranian relations and agreements reached earlier between the sides in Baku.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team