MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – The crisis in Syria can only be solved through peaceful means by the Syrian people themselves, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"It is obvious that this bloody internal armed conflict has no military solution," Lavrov said in an interview with the Verdens Gang (VG) Norwegian newspaper, adding that "the Syrians themselves have to determine the future of their country through an inclusive national dialogue without outside interference".
Lavrov noted that from the very beginning Russia has been calling for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis and will continue to encourage Syrians to find an acceptable political solution to the problems their country currently faces.
Anti-government protests broke out in Syria in March 2011, leading to a civil war, which has been going on in the country for three years. According to UN estimates, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 190,000 people, forcing almost three million Syrians to flee the country.
Syria is also suffering from the advance of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The IS has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In September, US President Barack Obama formed an international coalition which has been launching airstrikes against IS targets.
Russia is not part of the coalition as it is convinced that all anti-terrorism efforts should be built on a solid foundation of international law under the auspices of the UN Security Council, Lavrov stressed.
According to the Russian Foreign Minister, the conflict in Syria cannot be resolved without addressing the threat of terrorism, however, American airstrikes on the Syrian territory "raise serious questions" as they their launch is not coordinated with the government of Syria.
Russia has condemned the rise of terrorism in Syria but has stressed that rather than call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, the West should focus on trying to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.