Russia, US Discuss De-escalation Zone in Syria’s Southwest — Lavrov

Moscow and Washington discussed the de-escalation zone in Syria’s southwest and the text of the deal is open for the public, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.

“In particular, we discussed with the Americans a mechanism of the de-escalation zone’s operation in Syria’s southwest,” Lavrov said. “This is an open agreement and its text is available,” Lavrov said, adding that representatives of Jordan also took part in hammering out the deal.

“Informal consultations were held with Israel taking into consideration that this zone is in direct proximity to the Golan Heights,” he said.

“If one looks at who poses the biggest threat, it is the United States’ charges, specifically, various foreign terrorists, militants who ‘cling’ to those armed opposition groups backed by the US,” the minister said commenting on the recent statements by US Department of State officials who said Washington had secured Moscow’s promise to ensure the withdrawal of pro-Iranian units from Syria and prevent their consolidation in the country.

“As for Al-Bukamal, it is not the only example of the US attempts to spare terrorists,” he said. “We remember that during the operation to free Raqqa, as well as in Iraq’s Mosul, the gates were, so to say, opened for the Islamic State terror group [IS, outlawed in Russia – TASS],” Lavrov said. “There are a lot of questions to ask about the United States’ goals in Syria, because US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told me many times that their only goal is to defeat the IS,” Lavrov said.

There have been no discussions on the withdrawal of the pro-Iranian forces from Syrian at the recent talks with the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. When commenting on the statements issued by the US Department of State, concerning some agreements made with Russia about the withdrawal of the pro-Iranian forces from Syria, Lavrov said that “we discussed neither Iran no any pro-Iranian forces.” “If we talk about the pro-Iranian forces, then some will be tempted to call the entire Syrian army pro-Iranian. And then what? Will it have to surrender? This is what they call wishful thinking,” the Russian top diplomat added.

 

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