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Terrorism in Syria could have been prevented if West had heeded Russia — diplomat

September 16, 2014, 20:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian diplomat called on the United Nations human rights mechanisms to “double their efforts to gather and make public information about crimes committed by terrorists”

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© ITAR-TASS/Boris Kavashkin

MOSCOW, September 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Expansion of terrorism in Syria could have been prevented if the West had heeded Russia’s warning and now the worst scenarios were materializing, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the Geneva-based U.N. office and other international organizations Alexei Borodavkin said on Tuesday.

“It is now obvious as never before that the real threat to Syria and the entire region is the activity of terrorist groups,” Borodavkin said at the 27th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. “I would like to remind you that from the very beginning of the Syrian developments Russia has been proposing to pool efforts of the international community, the Syrian authorities and the moderate opposition to fence off jihadists.”

“If our opinion had been listened to, this malignant tumor might have been prevented from spreading,” he said. “Now, regrettably, we must admit that our worst scenarios have materialized: the Islamic State has seized a third of the country’s territory, have proclaimed the Syrian city of Raqqa as a capital of their “caliphate” and is committing heinous crimes. This is supplemented by violent raging of other terrorist groups.”

Borodavkin noted that the commission of inquiry on Syria had admitted in its reports that the Syrian government was fighting against an army of well-trained and well-armed terrorists. “It appears from the report that the Free Syrian Army was non-existent any longer and that armed groups qualified as moderate are closely coordinating their activities with terrorist groups,” the Russian ambassador noted. “These radicals, as follows from the commission’s report, commit capital punishments, tortures, sexual violence, they use children as soldiers and blow up cars stuffed with explosives.”

Moscow “resolutely condemns such atrocity,” Borodavkin stressed. Russia, in his words, hailed the commission’s recommendation to resume political process in Syria and was “ready to make its contribution.” “But we have to upset the commission: its calls have been heard not by all,” he noted. “A new draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on Syria contains not a single word in support of efforts towards a settlement of the conflict through talks.”

But “the rapidly changing situation in the region calls for consolidation of international community to fight terrorism,” he said. “We welcome France’s very timely initiative to hold an international conference on peace and security in Iraq and are ready to work on the implementation if its results.”

The Russian diplomat called on the United Nations human rights mechanisms to “double their efforts to gather and make public information about crimes committed by terrorists.” He called on the commission to prepare a separate report on violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law by the Islamic State and other terrorists in Syria, including Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic Front.

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