The Russian foreign minister has come down on the US for pursing a “double standard” approach towards the fight against terror in Syria, saying Washington encourages “bloody provocations” against Russian and Syrian government forces.
In an interview with the London-based, Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat daily, published on Wednesday, Sergei Lavrov cast doubt on the activities of US-backed militants as well as the Washington-led coalition of countries engaged in what is said to be an anti-ISIS operation in Syria.
“In some cases, these [US-led] forces have indirectly encouraged other terrorists to attack strategic positions rightfully regained by Damascus, or they have deliberately engaged in bloody provocations against our forces,” Lavrov said.
“In other cases, they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or to stage fatal provocations against our military personnel,” he added.
The remarks came amid increased tensions in Syria’s Deir Ezzor Province between US-backed militants and Syrian government forces, who are backed by Russia.
Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor had been twice targeted with mortar and rocket fire from the regions where the US-sponsored Syrian Democratic Forces are active.
Lavrov further criticized the US for failing to acknowledge that there is no distinction between terrorist groups which are wreaking havoc in Syria.
“If you apply double standards, divide terrorists into ‘bad’ and ‘very bad,’ force others to enter the coalition on political motives, forgetting about the necessary UN sanction to approve these actions, then it’s hard to speak about the effectiveness of an anti-terror campaign,” Lavrov said.