Moscow Concerned With Escalation in East Ghouta Despite UN Resolution
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a briefing on Monday with the permanent members of Russia's Security Council to discuss the situation in Syria's Eastern Ghouta and the continuing provocations by terrorists in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
Earlier in the day, Peskov said that the dire humanitarian situation in that area had been addressed by the Russian president in a phone call with his counterparts from France and Germany that was held on Sunday.
"The situation in Syria… causes extreme concern. The terrorists who are in East Ghouta, do not lay down their arms, they keep the local population hostage, and this is the reason for the very tense situation," Peskov said.
Putin on Sunday talked about the situation in East Ghouta with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone. The heads of the three countries agreed to continue "joint, constructive work" to ensure the implementation of the truce deal.
The phone talk came after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2401 on Saturday, urging all parties to the conflict to immediately stop all clashes and adhere to a long-term humanitarian pause on the entire territory of Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered supply of humanitarian aid as well as medical evacuation of those injured.
Lavrov: US Keeps Working to Establish Qausi-State in Syria
Speaking on the Syrian issue at a press conference on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has touched upon the reports of alleged chemical weapons use, saying that they aim to derail ceasefire agreements in Syria.
"There has already been disinformation in the media that last night or this morning chlorine gas was used in Eastern Ghouta as a toxic substance, citing an anonymous individual who lives in the United States … Other disinformation is likely," Lavrov noted.
"Attempts from such sources will, of course, continue for the sole purpose of denigrating… the government forces, accusing them… of war crimes in order to implement consistently those actions that we already observe in the eastern regions of Syria, where the United States is implementing, I am convinced, the scenario of creating a quasi-state, the scenario of a split of Syria," he added.
The Russian foreign minister the UN resolution 2401 stipulates that ceasefire would begin when all sides agree on its nature.
"Does this resolution have a chance to be implemented… Overall, yes – such chance exists if all Syrian sides on the ground, all those who support them, including outside of Syria … if all of them are guided by the UN Security Council’s demand to cease hostilities to ensure at humanitarian pause of at least 30 days," he told a press conference.
Syria: Anti-Terrorist Operation to Continue
"We made it clear that this resolution is valid for the entire territory of Syria, including Afrin and territories where the US forces are deployed. The second aspect is that the resolution is not applied to the actions against Daesh and Nusra Front terror groups, which means that operations against these groups are not prohibited," Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Hussam Edin Aala has said.
The representative has also noted that the Syrian government forces are conducting the operation against aforementioned terrorist organizations in the country, including in East Ghouta.
Syrian government forces have been carrying operation codenamed “Damascus Steel,” in a bid to clear the region of militants. According to the Russian military, the terrorist groups in the region are purposely struggling to escalate the situation in East Ghouta, preventing civilians from leaving the area and provoking retaliatory fights against the Syrian government.