21:56 GMT +321 July 2019
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    In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gestures during an interview with the BBC, in Damascus, Syria

    Russia Slams Claims of Secret Deal on Future of Syria, Assad

    © AP Photo / SANA, File
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    Western media earlier reported that Russia had allegedly made a deal with the United States and Saudi Arabia on ousting Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia considers recent media reports indicating changes in its stance on Syria and the future of President Bashar Assad as false allegations aimed at shifting responsibility for the failure of Western policies in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "Russia consistently and determinedly supports the strict implementation of the Geneva communique on Syria adopted on June 30, 2012, adhering the norms and principles of the international law and respecting the sovereignty of other states," ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. 

    "I would like to reiterate that Russia does not practice social engineering, we do not appoint or dismiss foreign presidents, being it on our own will or in agreement with somebody else. It concerns Syria and other states in the region, which are able to decide their future by themselves," Zakharova stressed.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011 as government forces loyal to President Assad have been fighting several opposition and radical Islamist militant groups, including Nusra Front and Islamic State.

    A number of Western countries have long supported what they call "moderate" rebel fighters, while Russia has repeatedly stated that Assad is the legitimate president of Syria, and that the people of Syria must choose their government and leaders without outside intervention.

    In August, the Syrian president said that he highly appreciated Russia's assistance, by which Moscow had proved its firm position in supporting Damascus during the military conflict.

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    Tags:
    Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States, Russia
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