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Diplomat marks role of Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria turnaround

June 09, 2016, 9:09 UTC+3

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said at a UN Security Council has commented on the UN chief’s report on the fight against terrorist groups

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Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin


UNITED NATIONS, June 9. /TASS/. Russia’s Aerospace Forces were able to reverse the situation in Syria, and this fact should not be ignored, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said at a UN Security Council meeting while commenting on the UN chief’s report on the fight against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The UN secretary-general’s strategic reports in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 2253 are called upon to form an objective understanding of the terrorist threat and assessment of the contribution of member states to counteraction to that global challenge, the Russian diplomat noted, adding that the current report "does not meet that task; moreover, the document is built upon one-sided data and does not provide a proper picture."

In particular, Churkin said that the report links military defeats of ISIL (Islamic State) with the actions of some international coalition forces.

"There’s an impression that the role of the coalition led by the US is deliberately highlighted, while the actions of other states, often more effective, are deliberately ignored," he said.

"Such philosophy is by nature vicious, as it does not contribute to the formation of a global antiterrorism coalition the creation of which was urged by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech from the rostrum of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly," Churkin said.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces’ actions were successful

"One can’t but admit that substantial damage was inflicted upon ISIL potential in Syria by the actions of Russia’s Aerospace Forces," Churkin continued.

"We also believe it is inadmissible to hush up operations of the Syrian Armed Forces, which selflessly counter the terrorist threat on the frontline," he said, lamenting that the report does not say anything about the role of Russia’s Aerospace Forces in the liberation of Palmyra and mine clearing there.

Russia 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.

During Russia’s operation against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra that lasted nearly six months, Syrian forces recaptured nearly 400 inhabited localities with support from Russia’s aircraft. Serious problems were created for illegal oil trade, which is the key source of income for terrorists; the main routes of supply of arms and ammunition to militants were blocked.

Palmyra liberation and mine clearing

Palmyra was liberated from Islamic State militants in late March during an operation worked out with participation of Russian specialists and conducted with support from Russia’s Aerospace Forces.

From April 2, Russian sappers started mine clearing in the city, and on May 5 Russian Engineer Corps commander Lt. Gen. Yury Stavitsky reported that the task has been completed. He said 825 hectares of territory, 8,500 buildings and facilities were cleared of mines and shells; specialists neutralized some 18,000 explosive objects.

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