UNITED NATIONS, December 16. /TASS/. Russia’s actions in Syria helped thwart the seizure of Damascus by terrorists, the Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, adding that it also helped the military and economic potential of extremist groupings.
"The actions of the Russian Aerospace Force made it possible to avert a seizure of Damascus by terrorists, to undermine the military and economic foothold of terrorist groupings and to liberate expansive land areas," Churkin said.
Russia is also helping to establish dialogue between the country’s government and the opposition based both inside and outside of Syria "for the purpose of tapping pan-Syrian consensus on the political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis", he said.
"Moscow has firmly spoken for a peaceful untangling of the Syrian with the simultaneous observance of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Churkin said.
"We’re confident there’s no alternative to political settlement based on an inclusive pan-Syrian dialogue and the parallel ceasefire, humanitarian access and continued struggle with terrorism," he said.
Task number one in Syria after the liberation of eastern Aleppo is the comprehensive ending of all the combat actions and resumption of pan-Syrian talks, Churkin said. Damascus has reaffirmed his readiness for dialogue more than once.