As he denied that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asked Russia for political asylum, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Syrian airstrikes have helped turn the tide in the crisis-hit country.
The Russian air force’s strikes had “really helped to turn around the situation in the country, helped towards reducing the territory controlled by terrorists, ” the top Russian diplomat told a news conference in Moscow, AFP news agency reported.
Russia has been since September 30 launching military campaign against Takfiri groups in Syria, under the request of Damascus.
Meanwhile, he denied that Assad had asked Moscow for political asylum.
“Nobody has asked us for political asylum. No offers of the sort have been made,” Lavrov said. He also dismissed media rumors the former chief of the General Staff’s intelligence directorate GRU, Igor Sergun, had allegedly asked Assad to step down.
“I’ve read the speculations published with reference to late Igor Sergun claiming that he had allegedly made a trip to Damascus to ask Assad to resign,” Lavrov said.
“This is not true. Such a conversation with Assad was not necessary.” Lavrov recalled Assad’s visit to Moscow and his meeting with President Vladimir Putin. “What they agreed on is well-known,” Lavrov said, according to TASS.
“We confirmed that in public and our president stated that Assad had agreed to enter into negotiations with the opposition including armed opposition. He agreed to form a wider anti-terrorist front on the ground for struggle against ISIL, Nusra Front and their likes (Takfiri group).”
“Also in Moscow we agreed that President Assad in the course of the political process will send a delegation and will be ready to consider political reforms that would eventually be incorporated in decisions by the Vienna Group and the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2254,” the Russian FM said.