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MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. If the Syrian authorities do not agree to a ceasefire, this can result in the fact that the armed conflict in the country will last "very, very long," Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told Russia’s Kommersant-FM radio and the Kommersant daily.
"[The Syrian government troops] will probably capture Aleppo now, the largest center in the north of the country. But if they [the Syrian authorities] proceed from the assumption that the ceasefire is not necessary, and it is necessary to fight to the bitter end, this armed conflict will last for a very, very long time. And it is scary to imagine this," he said commenting on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s remarks on his determination to fight until victory.
"It is my personal assessment, I heard Assad’s statement on TV… "Of course, it [statement] is out of tune with the diplomatic efforts made by Russia," Churkin said.
The diplomat noted though that "one should not attach too much importance to particular remarks and dramatize them." According to Churkin, one should focus on what "Damascus will do eventually."
"Russia has invested heavily in this crisis — politically, diplomatically and now also militarily. Therefore, we, of course, would like Bashar al-Assad to respond to this," the diplomat said.
"If the Syrian authorities, despite the internal political situation and the propaganda policy which they need to pursue, follow Russia’s lead in resolving this crisis, they will have a chance to get out of the crisis with dignity," Churkin said. "If somehow they stray from this path — and again this is my personal assessment - a very difficult situation could emerge, including for themselves. Whatever capabilities the Syrian army has, the effective operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces made it possible for it to hurl the enemy back from Damascus."