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Ambassador: Russian diplomats in Syria still in danger despite ceasefire deal

Russia’s embassy in Damascus came under shelling once again on February 3
Russia’s embassy in Damascus  Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russia’s embassy in Damascus
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. The actual danger that Russia’s embassy in Damascus may come under attack is not decreasing even amid the ceasefire deal between the Syrian government and the opposition, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said in an interview with TASS.

"The establishment of ceasefire on December 30, 2016 had a positive impact on the military and political situation in Syria in general," he said. "Unfortunately, this does not mean that the security situation of the embassy has automatically improved."

It’s no secret that not only terrorists of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) but also some other "irreconcilable" Jihadist groups call against peaceful settlement in Syria and for continuing the armed struggle until the regime of Bashar Assad is toppled, he said.

These armed gangs do not recognize the ceasefire agreement and try to disrupt it by all means, "including through attempts to stage high-profile terrorist attacks against Russia’s representatives in Syria," Kinshchak said.

"By the way, the Army of Islam [Jaysh al-Islam] is just one of the groups responsible for the shellings of Damascus," the ambassador said. "This was also done by the Nusra members dug in Jobar and Eastern Ghouta, their former allies from Faylaq ar-Rahman and possibly other bandits. Unfortunately, this threat remains."

Russia’s embassy in Damascus again came under shelling on February 3, the ambassador said, adding that there was no serious damage to it. "We constantly register shellings in close vicinity to the embassy," he added.

"Finally, a serious threat is coming not only from mortar shellings, but also from terrorist attacks, including with the use of suicide bombers," the ambassador said, recalling the January 12 suicide bombing in a government quarter in Kafr Sousa, in downtown Damascus.

"So, even during the ceasefire the level of danger is not reducing for us," Kinshchak stressed. "That’s why, as before, we are forced to pay high-priority attention to ensuring security to increase the real protection of our staff members from all possible threats," he said.