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Fighting Jabhat al-Nusra in Eastern Ghouta is absolutely legitimate - Lavrov

Focusing on Eastern Ghouta, Russian Foreign Minister said Russia is 100% committed to Resolution 2401

WINDHOEK, March 5./TASS/. Fight against the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) in Eastern Ghouta is absolutely legitimate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference with his Namibian counterpart, Minister of International Relation and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, on Monday.

"Syria is far from the only topic where attempts are made to put pressure on us. Many other issues, topical issues on the international agenda are also the subject matter for attempts to put pressure on Russia," Lavrov said. "I have even heard that the recent cold wave in Europe came also due to Russia’s actions," the senior diplomat added.

He said Russia always complies with its agreements. Focusing on Eastern Ghouta, he said Russia is 100% committed to Resolution 2401. "The main paragraph of the resolution demands from all Syrian parties to make arrangements for a ceasefire to achieve at least a 30-day pause for the delivery of humanitarian aid," Lavrov said.

The senior diplomat said Western partners prefer to ignore this paragraph and insist that the Syrian government unilaterally stop warfare, while Russia stop supporting it. "These moves by the Syrian leadership with our backing are aimed at suppressing Jabhat al-Nusra, which is a terrorist organization, and in line with the UN Security Council resolution it is not covered by the cessation of hostilities," he stressed. "It is absolutely legitimate to consistently and irreconcilably fight the terrorists during the currency of the above resolution," Lavrov added.

Russia is accumulating increasingly more evidence of the US efforts to extricate Jabhat al-Nusra from strikes and to save it for further regime change in Damascus, the visiting Russian foreign minister said here.

He said the Western partners and the US in the first place would like to see Jabhat al-Nusra an organization briskly changing its brand names but not its essence extricated from combat blows and saved for more and more explicit hopes of a return to plan B, which implies a change of the regime in Damascus.

Lavrov said that according to information coming from different sources, the US-led international coalition is currently nursing schemes to destroy Syria. "They are actually getting on the path that is directly at variance with UN Security Council resolutions," Lavrov said. He said honest work is needed. "Sadly, our Western colleagues obviously don’t have enough of it at the moment," he added.

UN Security Council resolution

On February 25, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding that the parties to the Syrian conflict cease hostilities for at least 30 days so that humanitarian aid can be provided to civilians. All the 15 Security Council member states, including Russia, supported the document. According to the resolution, the ceasefire does not apply to military operations against the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) and other terrorist groups.

At the Russian president’s order, a daily humanitarian pause from 09:00 to 14:00 is in effect in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta starting from February 27, aimed at providing civilians with an opportunity to leave the area. According to sources in the Russian Center for Reconciliation, militants many times have been shelling the humanitarian corridor set up for civilians willing to exit from the enclave. They also prevent people from leaving threatening them with death.