US-led coalition does not know who the terrorists in Syria are – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Ivan Sekretarev
The US-led coalition lacks a common understanding of who the terrorist threat in Syria is coming from, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov believes. He also said that Russia is trying to establish contacts with the Syrian opposition.

“Last Friday I met with [US Secretary of State] John Kerry, Saudi and Turkish foreign ministers in Vienna …and I once again saw that the US-led coalition has no common understanding [about] who poses a terrorist threat in Syria,” Sergey Lavrov said at a press-conference held after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makey.

“One cannot say that there are ‘good’ terrorist which are not to be touched,” the minister said.

“It is also necessary to make clear who the political opposition in Syria is,” Lavrov added referring to the Geneva communique signed in June 2012, which calls for a peace process inclusive of all political groups.

The minister pointed out that the peace process must be “inclusive” – so, it must encompass all political opposition groups as well as all significant foreign countries.

“Some of our partners tried to count on one opposition group completely ignoring other groups and declaring this group the only representative of the Syrian people…There were also attempts to establish a closed club of foreign actors without the participation of other key states influencing the situation in Sirya,” Lavrov said.

“Such speculative patterns are unsustainable,” the minister added.

Lavrov also said that Russia is ready to help all opposition groups fighting against terrorists – not only the Assad regime. “It was not easy to find representatives of such opposition groups – and we are continuing our efforts. We have the first responses,” he said.

“It is necessary to unite everybody in all directions,” Lavrov said speaking about the Russian position in concerning resolution of the Syrian conflict.

The civil war in Syria erupted in 2011 after violent protests which took place as part of the so-called Arab spring. The vacuum of power was seized upon by terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) which managed to capture huge territories in Syria and Iraq.

On September 30 2015, Russia started a military operation against IS and other terrorist groups in Syria. Last week, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) sent Russia a proposal to hold negotiations in Cairo expressing its readiness to support the Russian initiative to establish an inclusive anti-terror coalition and peace process.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 250,000 people have been killed and about 2 million have been wounded in the war.