Monday 26 September 2016

Syrian FM says US is ISIS accomplice

Syrian FM at UN: Bombing of Syrian troops no mistake, US is ISIS accomplice

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem © Maxim Zmeyev
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem © Maxim Zmeyev / Reuters

24 September, 2016

The recent bombing of Syrian troops by the US-led coalition was no mistake, Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem, said at the UN General Assembly, calling America and its allies accomplices to crimes committed by Islamic State and other terrorists.

"The Syrian government puts all the responsibility for aggression on the US, as the facts show, that it was a deliberate attack, but not a mistake – even if America says the opposite,” Muallem said during a general debate at the 71st Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

This vile aggression proves that the US and its allies are accomplices of Islamic State and other terror groups,” he stressed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov © Lucas Jackson

On September 17, Syrian troops encircled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants near the town of Deir ez-Zor were bombed by US-led coalition warplanes. 

Sixty-two soldiers were killed in the airstrike, which was followed by an offensive by the jihadists on the positions of the government forces. 

Washington said that that it hit Syrian troops by mistake and, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, offered its apologies to Syria’s President Bashar Assad via Moscow.

Despite harsh rhetoric towards the US, Muallem stressed that Syria“confirms its adherence to the principles of the Geneva peace process under the auspices of the UN.” 

The Syrian government maintains “a constructive stance on the issue of political settlement” of the conflict in the country, he said.

Such a decision must be based on respect towards the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria and unity of its people,” the FM said. 

The intra-Syrian talks between sides involved in the conflict have remained stalled since April, with new rounds of negotiations being constantly rescheduled. 

The foreign minister also said that anti-terror efforts on Syrian soil can only be carried out in accordance with the country’s authorities. 

"We have always welcomed all international efforts to counter terrorism in Syria. But we stress once again the need to coordinate such efforts with the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Army that has been combating terrorism on the ground for more than five years. Without such coordination any action would be considered a breach of sovereignty, a flagrant interference and a violation of the principles and purposes of the charter,” Muallem dded.

"Without such coordination, any action will fall short of achieving real results and will even make matters worse," he dded.

The diplomat again slammed the “Turkish incursion into Syrian territories under the pretext of countering terrorism. This is a flagrant aggression and must be stopped immediately."

A ceasefire in Syria was agreed on during talks on September 9 between Moscow and Washington. Both sides agreed to influence the Syrian government and the so-called moderate rebel forces respectively in order to bring an end to hostilities.

Since then, Moscow has repeatedly complained that Washington is failing to keep to its side of the bargain.

The US has blamed Russia for not pressuring Damascus enough to facilitate humanitarian access to Syria.

The ceasefire was put at risk by the bombing of Syrian government forces by US-led coalition warplanes in Deir ez-Zor and an attack on UN-humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo, in which 21 people were killed.

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