‘Not proxy’: Lavrov says US, British, French special forces ‘directly involved’ in Syria war
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned the illegal presence of US coalition troops in Syria, saying the Western forces deployed on the ground amount to “a direct involvement in the war.”
“There are special forces on the ground in Syria from the US – they no longer deny it – the UK, France and a number of other countries,” Lavrov said in an interview to the Kazakh state broadcaster published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Saturday. “Thus, it’s not so much of a ‘proxy war,’ but rather a direct involvement in the war,” the diplomat stressed.
The US coalition is “illegitimate” from the standpoint of international law and the UN Charter, Lavrov said. “But we are realistic and understand that we wouldn’t fight with them. So we coordinate actions at least to prevent unintended clashes. Our military always keeps in touch with the American commanders who lead the operation on Syrian territory.”
Moscow is also in "a permanent dialogue" with the US General Staff officials “who actually lead the operation on the ground,” the minister said.
Lavrov also stressed attacks on the Syrian and pro-Syrian forces in US-controlled areas deserve condemnation, given that Russia has been repeatedly and “solemnly” assured that the presence of the US military in Syria is aimed “exclusively” at fighting terrorists.
Lavrov also criticized the remarks by the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, about Washington’s readiness to “bomb Damascus and even the presidential palace of Bashar Assad, regardless [of the] presence of the Russian representatives there.”“It is an absolutely irresponsible statement,” Lavrov said.
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