Syrian settlement: setting the record straight (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

A grave humanitarian situation in Aleppo today is the most topical issue within the context of settlement in Syria. Over past two weeks, as the Syrian Government forces and Russian Air Force successfully resist the Jabhat al-Nusra”-led offensive, there have been increased efforts by some media to distort the real situation in Aleppo. The terrorists, who seek to seize the whole city, are obviously not interested in a ceasefire and establishing humanitarian corridors for civilians caught up in the fighting.

However, a large-scale humanitarian operation is under way, conducted by the Syrian Government with Russia’s assistance. The Russian Centre for reconciliation of the opposing sides delivered over 50 tonnes of food and medical supplies, as well as 93 tonnes of bottled water, to the people of Aleppo. All the seven recently established humanitarian corridors are open round o’clock. The road leading to the northern outskirts of Aleppo via the Castello shopping centre has been opened. It is now safely used for uninterrupted delivery of essential supplies to western and eastern Aleppo. Moreover, according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia is discussing with the United States and the UN specialized agencies a weekly 48-hour ceasefire to deliver humanitarian aid to both parts of Aleppo, including the east, controlled by mixed opposition/terrorist groups.

Meanwhile, such fundamental factors as attempts of the terrorists to block, by way of intimidation and even public executions, a passage of civilians through humanitarian corridors are plainly ignored. It is not reported here. Before the start of the Russian Air Force mission in Syria on 30 September 2015, the United States had admitted the failure of its effort to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. 500 mln. USD were spent to produce 5 or 6 trainees on the ground.  Where have those moderate rebels come from since then? Or does the dirty secret lie in the fact that the imposition of a “Sunni alternative” on Syria could only be achieved with the help and leadership of terrorist groups?

We are convinced that appeasement of terrorists will not contribute to the solution of humanitarian problems in Syria. We expect our Western partners, primarily the US, to keep the promise they gave in February to ensure separation of moderate opposition forces from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The latter has recently rebranded itself with the blessing of "Al-Qaeda". The proverbial separation of the chaff from the wheat is absolutely imperative. There can be no political settlement, while the terrorists, mostly foreigners, call the tune on the other side. Our proposals to coordinate joint efforts to combat terrorism in Syria remain on the table.