ROME, December 2. /TASS/. Those blocking militants’ pullout from Aleppo wanted the terrorists to retain control over city, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after holding talks with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.
According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow had supported the idea to provide the militants with an opportunity to leave eastern Aleppo although it was a controversial idea. "But those who wanted eastern Aleppo to remain under the terrorists’ control, prevented the militants from pulling out of the city," Sergey Lavrov stated.
"After a large part of eastern Aleppo was cleared of terrorists, the so-called local council stopped threatening to attack humanitarian convoys travelling along the Castello road," the Russian minister noted. "We informed the UN that there are no more obstacles preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid, they just needed to contact the Syrian government about humanitarian convoys."
"The UN is still thinking how to do that while Russia has sent additional humanitarian aid as well as two mobile hospitals, medical equipment and medicine to Aleppo," Lavrov noted. "If other countries want to assist civilians in Aleppo then they should do the same."
Moscow has been taking all necessary measures in order to prevent civilian suffering in Aleppo:
"As for humanitarian organizations’ data on the number of civilian deaths in Aleppo, we always pay attention to such reports and also assess them because most reports sparking outrage over the situation in the city are based on the information provided by the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is a one-man organization based somewhere in London in a two-bedroom apartment. Everyone knows it but nevertheless continues to cite the Observatory as a credible source of information," the minister said adding that the information provided by this organization required double checking.
"Russia places great importance on international humanitarian law so we have been taking all the possible measures in order to prevent or alleviate civilian suffering," the foreign minister stressed. "However, the world community should be concerned not only over the situation in Aleppo but also over the situation in Iraq’s Mosul, Yemen and other trouble spots."
The Nusra Front problem
The task of rebranding Jabhat al-Nusra stands behind the creation of the Aleppo Army by the opposition forces in the city’s eastern part to bring this terrorist grouping out of the blow, Lavrov said noted.
"As for the reports to the effect that some Aleppo Army has been formed to include all groupings in the city’s eastern part and whether this may mean that there may be terrorists in it, then according to our data actually all groupings in eastern Aleppo are subordinated to Jabhat al-Nusra [a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia]," the Russian foreign minister said.
"If it has been announced today about the creation of the ‘Aleppo army,’ then it is not ruled out that this is an attempt to rebrand Jabhat al-Nusra to let it escape punishment it deserves," Lavrov said.
Fate of Syrian president
The demands for the resignation of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are unacceptable, no such agreements have been made, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
"The UN Security Council Resolution 2254 stipulates that talks on the political settlement in Syria are launched without preconditions," the Russian top diplomat noted.
"Unfortunately, those who demand to remove President Assad from power first, have been blocking the negotiations. This is unacceptable since no one made such agreements."