MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia has requested humanitarian organizations to not delay deliveries of relief aid to Syria because of alleged security issues linked to President Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday, pointing out that no such issues exist.
"We, as well as the Russian Defense Ministry, are insistently urging humanitarian organizations not to delay the deliveries of assistance under the pretext of the far-fetched problems with Bashar Assad. There are no problems, security is being maintained. The aid should be delivered to these [de-escalation] zones via the most effective routes," Lavrov said during a meeting with students of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
"It is, in fact, difficult to guarantee [aid deliveries] there and it is important to understand what is being transported in these shipments. I am sure that in most cases, humanitarian goods are delivered, but taking into account that uncontrolled groups are operating in surrounding countries, some [deliveries] may be corrupted. We want to prevent that," Lavrov added.
In May, Iran, Russia and Turkey — the three guarantor states of the Syrian ceasefire regime — signed during the Syrian settlement talks in Astana a memorandum on the establishment of de-escalation zones. It stipulated the creation of four de-escalation zones, and the guarantors have reached agreements with Syrian opposition groups to set up three zones, with consultations on the fourth safe zone in the Idlib province currently underway.