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No effect from activity of coalition fighting against Islamic State — Russian diplomat

May 22, 2015, 17:27 UTC+3
The Foreign Ministry is concerned with growing terrorist activities and the seizure of several populated localities, including the cities of Ramadi (Iraq) and Jisr-as-Sugur (Syria)
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The ancient city of Palmyra

The ancient city of Palmyra

©  EPA/SANA / HANDOUT

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned about growing activity of terrorists and their seizure of some settlements in Iraq and Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS on Friday.

"The activity of the-so called anti-IS coalition led by the United States has failed to produce result as of yet, and has not affected abilities of the Islamic State to expand their trans-border Caliphate," he said.

The deputy foreign minister urged "all international and regional partners to consolidate efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism".

"Decisions on this are fixed in corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council," he said. These decisions "are the basis on which the international community should continue efficient fight against violent extremism," he added.

Moscow concerned with Islamists’ advances in Iraq and Syria

 Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday also said that Russia is concerned with Islamists’ advances in Iraq and Syria where the towns of Palmira, Idlib and Ramadi have come under rebel control.

"We are concerned with growing terrorist activities and the seizure of several vital populated localities, including the cities of Ramadi [Iraq] and Jisr-as-Sugur [Syria]," Lukashevich said.

"The actions of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition have failed to affect the ability of the "Islamic State" to further expand its trans-border ‘caliphate’," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed.

Destruction of historic monuments in Palmyra would mean unpardonable act of vandalism

According to the diplomat, destruction of historic monuments in the Syrian city of Palmyra would mean an act of unpardonable vandalism.

"As for Palmyra (now seized by the Islamic State), serious concerns over the fate of world cultural heritage sites, in which the Syrians take natural pride, add to the aggravated situation," he said. "We'd consider their destruction as an unpardonable act of vandalism, encroachment on general human values and an insult to civilization."

Palmyra, a place located some 240 km away from Damascus, has unparalleled historic sights dating back to antiquity. UNESCO has listed it as a site of Outstanding Universal Value.

Units of the Syrian Army abandoned it on May 20 and took defensive positions on its outskirts. Civilian population had been evacuated earlier. Also, the government forces managed to take the most precious statues and bas-reliefs out of the city.

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