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MOSCOW, September 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Responsibility for the consequences of the Free Syrian Army’s threats will rest with the perpetrators and their patrons, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Moscow was deeply alarmed by statements made by representatives of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and carried by mass media that the international civil airports in Damascus and Aleppo will from now on be regarded as military targets and that civil planes will be shot down. An ultimatum was issued to civil airlines, demanding that they stop flights to these airports within 72 hours from September 1,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday, September 3.
Moscow considers such threats “absolutely unacceptable” as they represent “a gross violation of international law, primarily the Chicago Convention of 1944 ‘On International Civil Aviation’. From the moral and legal points of view this means that the opposition has come critically close to the ‘red line’, beyond which actions will be no different from Al-Qaeda’s crimes”, the ministry said.
“As is known, civil facilities and civil population have been repeatedly subjected to attacks by the armed Syrian opposition,” the ministry said. “The latest statement by FSA basically confirms that terrorism is turning into one of the main methods of its operation. However the states that sponsor the intransigent Syrian opposition and encourage it to refuse to engage in dialogue with the authorities and to ‘fight to the victorious end’ prefer not to notice this. If the FSA’s threats are carried out, all responsibility for their consequences will rest not only with the perpetrators but also with their patrons,” the ministry said.
“It is necessary to influence the FSA leaders in the most decisive way in order to exclude such threats, let alone their implementation. Russia has already contacted via diplomatic channels the countries that have influence on the radical Syrian opposition,” the ministry said.
It reiterated its recommendation to Russian citizens to “refrain from travelling to Syria” and urged the Russians living in Syria to use safe exit routes.