BEIRUT, April 25. /TASS/. The situation in Syria has been evolving in line with the de-escalation plan drawn up in Astana and even the recent trilateral aggression failed to undermine this process, Lebanese expert on Syria Nidal Sabi told TASS.
According to him, the April 14 "missile attack carried out by the United States, Great Britain and France was aimed at weakening the Damascus regime, turn the course of events and help the West ensure its position as the major player dictating to others.
"Washington and its allies carried out a military intervention to undermine efforts to end the war based on agreements the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey - reached in Astana in 2017," Sabi noted.
The expert added that "this plot has failed as Syrian missile defenses proved highly effective, shooting down more than 70 missiles, so it became possible to continue advancing the Astana plan de-escalation." "Following the withdrawal of militants from Eastern Ghouta, extremists also left Dumeir and settlements in the Eastern Qalamoun region," Sabi said, adding that "now the focus will be on the disarmament of militant groups active north of Homs and in the southern province of Daraa."
The Lebanese expert went on to say that the outcome of the recent G7 foreign ministers meeting in Toronto was disappointing. "The West still seeks to bargain with Russia over Syria and dictate its own transition period terms, which stipulate a change of regime in Damascus in return for the West’s possible participation in the post-war reconstruction process," Sabi said. "Given the victories Syrian troops have achieved with the Russian Aerospace Force’s support, this blackmail is bound to lead nowhere," he noted. According to the expert, the West will gain nothing using such tools, "since the anti-government armed groups it has been supporting have faced a defeat."
Sabi said the United States and its allies should "abandon their plans to split Syria on ethnic and religious grounds and start facilitating the settlement process launched in Astana, which will make it possible to restore the country’s unity." "Astana remains the main working platform as the Geneva talks are unlikely to resume in the wake of the trilateral aggression welcomed by the Syrian opposition," the expert concluded.
On April 14, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and France, launched missile strikes on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles.
Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes to be a response to a chemical weapons attack, which had allegedly happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Reports about the incident had been spread by a number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were known for spreading fabricated news.
On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons. On April 10, a decision was made to send OPCW experts to Douma to assess the situation on the ground and collect information about the alleged chemical incident.