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Russian diplomat: No air strikes or offensive operations planned in Syria’s Aleppo

August 03, 12:34 UTC+3
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister noted that US and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition are politicizing the situation in Aleppo and paint it in a false light
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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. No offensive is planned in Syria’s Aleppo, and the current operation is exclusively humanitarian, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Wednesday.

"We don’t have any other goals apart from alleviating the humanitarian situation for Aleppo residents and creating conditions for expanding the regime of cessation of hostilities. Neither an offensive by the Syrian forces nor air strikes of Russian Aerospace Defense Forces’ group are planned in Aleppo," Ryabkov said.

There are serious opportunities for plugging international humanitarian organizations and some countries into the operation to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, Ryabkov said.

"The main problem is what is happening in Aleppo and around it," the diplomat said. "We have launched a humanitarian operation together with the Syrian government forces. Corridors have been created for civilians and the gunmen who are prepared to lay down arms. Some part of the population has already taken this opportunity to leave the city."

"We have serious opportunities in terms of involvement of international organizations and some countries in supporting this operation," Ryabkov said.

The diplomat noted that US and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition are politicizing the situation in Aleppo and paint it in a false light. "The situation is rather complicated now because, as far we understand, US will not decide to support us in this matter, and they have no understanding on where to move from here," he added.

"We note with concern that the ‘party of war’ exists not only among opponents of the Bashar Assad’s government in the Middle East, but also in Washington," he concluded.

On July 28 Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russian and Syrian militaries are starting a large-scale humanitarian operation in Aleppo. Four humanitarian corridors will be established there. Civilians will be able to leave Aleppo via three corridors, while one more corridor may be used by militants who wish to lay down arms. The defense minister also ordered to airdrop food, medicaments and necessities to civilians in Aleppo.

Accusations for chemical attack near Aleppo

Ryabkov said that it is premature so far to blame anybody for the recent chemical attack near Aleppo in Syria

"Unlike the US administration, which, having received a primary signal from, perhaps, a not entirely neutral source that claimed that barrel bombs with chemical agents were dropped, is trying to generalize something on this basis and draw far-reaching conclusions, we will refrain from this," the deputy minister said on the sidelines of a forum of young diplomats at the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

"Without the understanding of what actually happened, it would be irresponsible to bring any accusations against anyone," the diplomat said. "We don’t know what really happened. We know that the terrorists, feeling that things are getting hot for them, are ready to resort to any kind of provocations against the Syrian troops, pretenses, attempts to assign both to us and the Syrian government forces the actions that bear no relation to reality."

The diplomat said he regretted Washington’s haphazard approach to the issue of the possible use of chemical weapons near Aleppo. "Washington tries at the slightest pretext to put the blame on Damascus. The political goal of this is obvious - to create difficulties to the government of Bashar Assad and make him make excuses," he added. "It’s not fight against terrorism, but sheer geopolitics."

The Syrian government has reported that "terrorist groups" carried out a gas attack that killed five people in the old town of the besieged city of Aleppo on Tuesday afternoon, according to the state-run news agency SANA.

Results of Geneva consultations on Syria

Military and political results were achieved on Syria at the Geneva talks between Russian and US experts but Washington once again tries to revise agreements, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also said.

"Military-political results were achieved but, unfortunately, something that happens all the time lately has happened again - precisely, Washington’s attempts to revise agreements reached at the negotiations table," Ryabkov said.

"As soon as new results are reached, new requests, demands, recommendations emerge on the next day," the diplomat added. "When US colleagues start to feel that we are not ready to change, clarify or adjust anything on Washington’s first demand, the nature of such demands immediately transforms into ultimatums," he continued. "This destroys everything that has been so hard to achieve on the military track and with the help of foreign ministries," the deputy foreign minister concluded.

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