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Lavrov calls to coordinate Russian, US military action in Syria

The Russian top diplomat stresses Syria’s partition must not be allowed as it could cause a chain reaction throughout the whole Middle East

UNITED NATIONS, September 22./TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed a need for coordinated action by Russian and US military to deal a final blow to terrorists in Syria.

"We have the so-called deconflicting, but this is probably not enough when fight against terrorism is in progress, when we destroy terrorist hotbeds in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor," he said. "In order to deal a final blow to terrorists in fact, not just deconflicting is need, coordination is necessary. However, American military are forbidden from coordination," he added.

Lavrov said Russia has informed the United States that any attempts to hamper the counterterrorism operation in Syria will not be left without reaction.

"We are delighted to meet, to make sure we are on the same page about the Syrian settlement, fight against terrorism, resumption of nationwide dialogue and to outline further steps with regard to all these issues," Lavrov said.

"I am convinced that successes of the Syrian army supported by Russia’s Aerospace Force, in particularly in Deir ez-Zor and other regions, are very impressive," he said. "It is a decisive contribution to the fight against ISIL (former name of the Islamic State terrorist group banned in Russia)."

"We will be ready to heed your assessments on the issue and the situation in the country on the whole," Lavrov said.

"We have regular talks with the Americans, the Department of State and Pentagon. We have explained what is going on, as the Russian Defense Ministry had earlier announced publicly," he emphasized.

"We have sent a clear message that if there are attempts to complicate the end of the counterterrorism operation from the areas that are close to American ‘friends,’ or what else they can be called, it will not be left without reaction," Lavrov concluded.

Foreign troops

Moscow thinks it necessary the foreign troops staying illegitimately in Syria should pull out of the country after the victory over terrorism.

"About the foreign presence. There is legitimate presence based on an invitation from official authorities, but there is illegitimate one, namely presence of the US-led coalition and special forces’ troops from a wide range of foreign countries who nobody has invited," Lavrov said. "After terrorism is defeated, the first step should be the pullout of those who stay illegitimately in Syria."

"As for those, who were invited on a legitimate basis, leaders of the Syrian state will take a decision upon results of the political process," he noted.

Syrian unity

Moscow believes partition of Syria must not be allowed as a chain reaction will spread throughout the whole Middle East, he said. 

"First of all, fight against terrorism must be ended, but it is also necessary to start thinking how to restore Syria’s unity," the minister said. "No division must be allowed, a chain reaction will sweep the Middle East. This is what some would seek to achieve, those for whom it is advantageous to maintain here constant chaos, a mess," he added.

"In my opinion, about two weeks ago, [France’s President Emmanuel] Macron called to remove sanctions against Qatar, at least in the part affecting the lives of ordinary people," Lavrov said. "I urge to lift anti-Syrian sanctions in the degree they have an impact in the ordinary people’s lives."

Chemical incidents

Moscow expects that experts from the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism will shortly visit the airfield of Shayrat, he went on.

"We expect that experts of this joint mechanism will shortly visit also the Shayrat airport, as from the very start allegations were that a plane with a chemical bomb had taken off exactly from there.