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Lavrov: Information diplomacy on Syria better than information warfare

MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Information diplomacy is better than information warfare in the settlement of the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, commenting on reports allegedly confirming military crimes by the ruling regime in Syria.

“All this is part of information warfare,” he said at a major news conference reviewing results of the year 2013. “Of course we must be aware that military crimes have been and are committed on both sides in this conflict. However, judging by reports made in Geneva over the recent week by the UN human rights commissioner, the leadership of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, most cruel crimes are committed by jihadists,” he noted.

“Nobody has revoked the principle of responsibility for military crimes,” the minister continued. “It is fixed in the Geneva Communiqué, in UN decisions. But the most important thing is to separate real facts that must be looked into from lies that are rather widely spread, including through respected TV channels,” he said.

He mentioned examples in which “reputed” western and regional television channels were showing violence in their footage allegedly from outside Damascus, and later it was found out that the developments had taken place ten years ago in Iraq.

“Everything depends on the source, and on the motives this source is guided by,” he continued. “Up till now, 90% of references to violence by the regime have been coming from the source which is called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, basing in London. It is a small apartment in which two people life. This is the ‘observatory’ that has become a global source of news about developments in Syria,” he said.

“Crimes are committed, and they must be documented,” the foreign minister summed up. “But the most important thing now is not to single out this aspect as the most topical. Task number one at the moment is to stop violence, and a political dialogue is needed for that,” Lavrov said.

He said the issue of military crimes could be settled “later, within the framework of stabilization, national reconciliation” with the use of global experience through the setting up of fact finding commissions and so on. “But facts must be double checked, as too much lie is floating around this topic,” he summed up.