MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Carla Del Ponte took part in meetings in Moscow as a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said while answering the question on the goals of the diplomat’s visit to the Russian capital.
"The Russian Foreign Ministry’s website posted a report on the meeting of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov with members of the UN independent commission of inquiry of possible human rights violations in Syria," Zakharova said.
"The independent commission comprises Carla Del Ponte, who was present at the meeting. She had no additional meetings in the Foreign Ministry," she said.
Earlier in February, Del Ponte told the French-language TV channel RTS that Russia’s participation in the fight against terrorism in Syria is a positive factor.
"Overall, I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups," Del Ponte said, naming the Islamic State and al-Nusra terrorist groups among the organizations targeted.
"If you want a ceasefire, if you want peace, you first have to negotiate with the government," she also said then.
According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011. Gangs of militants making part of various armed formations, the most active of them being the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, fight government troops.
Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.
On October 7, 2015, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.
In mid-November 2015, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants.
Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries.
Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria.