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Russian General Staff: Turkey's arms supplies to Syria harm truce

April 27, 2016, 11:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW April, 27. /TASS

According to the chief of Russia’s General Staff, injured terrorists undergo treatment and rehabilitation at Turkish hospitals

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MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Ankara’s continuing weapons supplies to terrorists in Syria cause considerable negative effects on the reconciliation process, chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov has said.

"The supplies of weapons, ammunition and medicines to terrorists is one of the destabilizing factors that cause considerable negative effects on the reconciliation process," Gerasimov said. "Injured terrorists undergo treatment and rehabilitation at Turkish hospitals," he told the 5th Moscow conference on international security on Wednesday.

Gerasimov recalled that the Russian center for reconciliation at the Hmeimim base was gathering evidence about all breeches of truce and delivering humanitarian aid to civilians despite the continuing activity of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both organizations are outlawed in Russia).

"The center’s activity is focused on the promotion of ceasefire via a dialogue between the Syrian authorities and the constructive opposition," Gerasimov said. He recalled that Russia proceeded from the assumption that the future of Syria, its political system and who is to be elected to the supreme bodies of power will be decided only by the Syrian people themselves.

"Concerted action can and must preserve Syria as an integral secular state, which it had been before 2011," Gerasimov said.

International coalition’s actions in Syria violate international law

The official also stressed that the international coalition acting in Syria violates "all canons" of international law, while the Russian military stay in in the Syrian territory on legal grounds.

"Our units are in Syria on legal grounds at the request of the government of a sovereign state, which cannot be said about the international coalition that de jure violates all canons of international law," Gerasimov said at the 5th Moscow International Security Conference.

According to him, the Russian forces "participate only in the fight against terrorism, their actions have nothing to do with military interference in the affairs of another state or support for one of religious groups."

Situation in Syria was destabilized by tried and tested methods

Gerasimov said the process of destabilization and attempts to overthrow the legitimate government in Syria was underway by the tried and tested methods.

"First, protest actions were organized there with the active informational support from the outside, then armed attacks on representatives of public authorities and law enforcement agencies started and after that - a massive attack by terrorist groups, supported by the players behind the scenes began," Gerasimov said.

According to him, Syria "was facing a critical situation" in mid-2015. "The question of its preservation as a sovereign state remained open. The change of power in the republic would mean the country’s inevitable disintegration by the ethnic and religious principle and cessation of its existence as a single state," the General Staff Chief said.

"The developments in Syria according to the Libyan scenario would turn the once prosperous country into a source of the terrorism threat spread across the entire region", he said.

The conflict in Syria has lasted since March 2011. Earlier in April, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the hostilities in the country have left 400,000 people dead. Later he specified that it was his personal assessment. Up until now, the UN has named the death count of over 250,000 in Syria.

The ceasefire regime took effect in Syria on February 27. Shortly before, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was backed by all 15 Security Council member states. The ceasefire regime does not cover the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations as well as other groups ruled terrorist by the Security Council.

Russia takes an active part in the Syrian settlement effort. It helps Syria's authorities fight terrorists and has conducted mine clearing work in the ancient city of Palmyra. Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

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