MOSCOW, September 16. /TASS/. Russia does not pursue strategic targets to consolidate its forces in Syria, Russian President’s Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said in a televised interview on the Rossiya’24 channel on Saturday.
"What Russia is doing now demonstrates that we do not pursue any strategic targets to consolidate [our forces] in Syria. We believe that the objective is a struggle against international terrorism which poses a threat to Russia’s national interests. It is a threat to Europe and even the United States, rather than just to Russia," said Lavrentyev, who heads the Russian delegation at the Astana talks on Syria.
Russia hopes that Syria’s moderate opposition will make a contribution to suppressing terrorists in the de-escalation zones and Moscow is prepared to provide any assistance if needed, according to the envoy.
"We are very hopeful that the ceasefire will become irreversible and that establishment of four de-escalation zones will lead to stabilization in those areas," he added.
At the Astana meeting on Syria in May, the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire (Russia, Iran and Turkey) signed a memorandum of understanding on setting up four de-escalation zones in the war-torn country. Three of them are located in the southwest of Syria, East Ghouta (Damascus suburb) and near the city of Homs. The fourth de-escalation zone covers the Idlib Province and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Latakia and Hama regions. The current, sixth round on talks on Syria took place in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on September 14-15.