MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. Bashar al-Assad remaining in power in Syria is not a principled aspect for the Russian Federation, but the change of regime in that country would be a global-scale disaster, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova said Tuesday.
"We have never said Assad's staying in power is a principled aspect. We are saying that the change of regime in Syria could become a disaster not only on a local or even regional scale, but, with account for that problem with refugees that we have now, this could become a big black hole," Zakharova said on the Ekho Moskvy radio.
According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011.
An international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, held in January and February 2014, brought no particular progress.
Statehood in Syria is a key aspect in the fight against terrorism, Zakharova underscored. "If there’s no Syrian statehood, there will be no one to fight terrorists on the ground," she said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the recent Vienna multisided talks on Syrian settlement did not discuss the issue of Syria’s government. "The fate of the president should be decided by the Syrian people," she said.
Russian Aerospace Forces started a military operation against the Islamic State terrorist group (which is banned in Russia) in the Syrian territory at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. The air group in Syria includes more than 50 warplanes, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers; Su-25 assault aircraft; Su-30SM fighter jets as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. The Russian Navy is also involved in the military operation. The warships of the Russian Caspian flotilla delivered a massive cruise missile strike from the Kalibr-class sea-based missile system on the night to October 7.
The Russian authorities have totally excluded a possibility of any ground campaign in Syria.