Russian President Vladimir Putin is undermining international efforts to end the Syrian civil war by bombing opponents of Islamic State in an attempt to bolster Bashar al-Assad, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Reuters.
“The Russians say let’s talk, and then they talk and they talk and they talk. The problem with the Russians is while they are talking they are bombing, and they are supporting Assad,” he said.
Since the Russian intervention in Syria, the dribble of people who were going back from these camps to Syria has stopped dead, and there is a new flow coming in because of the actions the Russians are taking, the Foreign Secretary stressed.
“Less than 30 per cent of Russian strikes are against Daesh targets,” Hammond said. “Their intervention is strengthening Daesh on the ground – doing the very opposite of what they claim to be wanting to achieve.”
The Kremlin cannot take seriously UK foreign secretary’s accusations against Russia of prolonging conflict in Syria, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
“Russia is taking massive and sustained efforts to help Syrians in the fight against terrorists, international terrorists that present a threat not only for Syria, but also for the whole world,” Peskov said. “It is illogical and wrong to make such statements. The main thing is that is contradicts the essence of the efforts Russia is making,” he added.
In late January, peace talks on the Syrian conflict have started in Geneva: in accordance with UN Security Council resolution, Damascus and the opposition are trying to find a solution. The dialogue is expected to continue for six months.
Since 2011, Syria has been convulsed with a civil war. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are fighting against the armed opposition. An international coalition under the leadership of the United States launched a military campaign in Syria in 2014. The coalition members do not coordinate their actions with Russia.