Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the 10th anniversary of the start of anti-government demonstrations in Syria

I would like to read the Foreign Ministry’s statement on the 10th anniversary of the start of anti-government demonstrations in Syria. This document will be published on the Foreign Ministry website.

On March 15, it will be ten years since the beginning of civil disorder in the Syrian Arab Republic. Due to outside interference, the domestic political process rapidly turned into an armed conflict, in which illegal armed groups moved to the fore. The country was subjected to unprecedented aggression by international terrorism.

Owing to Russia’s decisive contribution, ISIS was defeated and irreparable damage was done to other international terrorist groups. As a result of the concerted efforts of the Astana format partners – Russia, Iran and Turkey – a sustainable ceasefire is ensured in the larger part of Syrian territory. At the same time, there are still isolated hotbeds of tension in Idlib, where the terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra and its allied gangs have entrenched themselves, as well as in the areas with an illegal US military presence – east of the Euphrates and At-Tanf.

Occupying an uncompromising position on international terrorism in all forms and manifestations and rendering military assistance to help eradicate terrorism in Syria, Russia firmly and consistently advocates a political settlement to the internal conflict in Syria. We are firmly convinced that there cannot be a military solution to it. We are committed to a political process led and implemented by the Syrians themselves in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We  are doing all we can to promote this process in our contacts with the Syrian government and opposition representatives.

We actively facilitate the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva, which was set up following the decision of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi in 2018. We encourage the involved Syrian parties to conduct regular constructive discussions in Geneva. That said, we are convinced that the Syrians must independently work out a common vision for the future of their homeland without external pressure or artificial deadlines for a final result.

Respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic has always been and remains an imperative of our policy in Syria.

On the tragic anniversary of the start of the destructive and bloody events in Syria we are bound to recall the numerous atrocities committed by terrorists against peaceful civilians and provocations staged by pseudo-humanitarians from the White Helmets with the use of chemical agents, which were inspired by their Western patrons. It is public knowledge that it was the far-fetched accusations of the Syrian Government of war crimes that were repeatedly used by the Americans and their allies to justify strikes at Syrian territory in violation of international law and in circumvention of the UN Security Council.  

We believe assistance to the voluntary and safe return home of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons is a major step towards restoring national unity in Syria. We are convinced that the entire international community must make vigorous efforts to resolve the urgent humanitarian task of providing acceptable living conditions for the millions of Syrians that have suffered in alien lands.

Unfortunately, the positive trends in Syria are not welcomed by everyone. After the failure of the long-standing previous attempts by anti-Syrian forces to achieve the overthrow of the lawful Syrian government by force, using criminals and terrorists as proxies, they have moved to financial and economic strangling. To achieve this, they are using unilateral restrictions, blocking external aid and creating obstacles for the return of refugees and IDPs to Syrian government controlled territories. In the process, the selective assistance rendered by the Western countries to their clients in Syria, can only perpetuate the existing dividing lines in Syrian society and stimulate separatist attitudes in the areas that are being artificially isolated today.

We consider the approaches by those who make political demands on the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Syrians anti-humane and unconstructive, all the more so during the coronavirus pandemic. In effect, the Syrians are being punished because they did not want to live according to the patterns imposed on them from the outside. We see this as yet further evidence of the double standards that are used by our opponents in Syria. They are trying to make Syria hostage to narrow self-serving geopolitical interests and turn it into a territory of permanent domestic conflict and an arena for the settling of accounts by external forces. It is no surprise that this position is held by the states that took a direct part in fanning the flames in Syria and that have supported anti-government forces, including terrorists. It is they who are primarily responsible for the ongoing Syrian tragedy.

We urge all those who are really interested in settling the crisis in Syria as soon as possible to give up politicised approaches and take an active part in rendering international assistance to the Syrian people, primarily in resolving urgent socio-economic problems and parrying humanitarian challenges.