The head of Russia’s Security Council has said that the biased and selfish approach demonstrated by Western nations is the main cause of the dire situation in which the Syrian people currently find themselves.
“Syria has fallen victim to the double standards in fighting terrorism that are being applied by the West and certain players who are pursuing their own interests in this conflict. The Syrian people remain the losing party in this game,” Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.
He added that it was Russia that had prioritized the humanitarian aspects of the operation from the very beginning and that the Russian military and Emergencies Ministry have never ceased delivering humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians.
In the interview, Patrushev stressed that Al-Nusra Front, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist group, is just as dangerous as the infamous Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and that renaming it into “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham” had not automatically turned it into some kind of “moderate opposition.” “Whatever the name of a terrorist group, when it uses terrorist tactics, it should not be given a place at the negotiation table, it should be destroyed,” he said.
The Russian security chief also pointed to Washington’s inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to fulfill its obligation to distance Al-Nusra Front terrorists from the so-called “moderate opposition,” which it had agreed to do in the ceasefire deal reached with Russia, as the main problem standing in the way of the anti-terrorist operation.
“We have recent examples proving that the US side is not keeping its promises. Like, despite the fact that the Syrian government has withdrawn its forces from the Castello road, the moderate opposition supported by Washington has not only failed to take any similar steps – they have been blocking the humanitarian convoys sent along it by the United Nations.”
Other examples of the US’ interference, according to Patrushev, was its attack on Syrian forces on September 17 and using talks with Russia to allow the terrorists to regroup. “Today we can witness the result of their actions – more and more Syrian groups that had worked with the USA earlier are now merging into Al-Nusra Front.”
Washington’s recent announcement that it was breaking off all talks with Moscow on Syria underscores the US’ double standards, Patrushev told reporters.
At the same time, the Russian security chief said that officials in Moscow still hope a constructive approach will eventually prevail in Washington and are ready to look at proposals on normalizing the situation in Aleppo.
“Terrorism has never respected national borders. What is going on in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan today, tomorrow can be replayed in other countries,” Patrushev concluded.
On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that the Russian and Syrian air forces would halt their airstrikes on terrorists in Aleppo to allow for a 48-hour humanitarian pause. The ceasefire comes two days ahead of plan, as the delivery of aid to the city was to start on Thursday. “The goal of this work is to separate the terrorist from the ‘moderate opposition’ and get them out of eastern Aleppo,” Shoigu said.