Enhancing US presence in eastern Euphrates threatens unity of Syrian territory

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that enhancing the US presence east of the Euphrates River threatens the unity of the Syrian territory.

Speaking to Italy’s Panorama magazine, Lavrov said that although the US State Department and the White House have officially confirmed that their main goal in Syria is to expel terrorists, Washington is in fact actively settling on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River and seeking to dismantle Syria. “This approach is also encouraged by a number of US allies,’’ he added.

The Russian top diplomat described as “absurd” the US accusations that Moscow and Damascus have delayed the entry of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts to Douma city to purge the location of the alleged chemical attack.

He added that the experts confirmed that it is not possible to cleanse the effects of a chemical attack amid destroyed buildings because the chemical substances seep into the ground and the walls of the buildings.

He reaffirmed that allegations of a chemical attack are just a dirty provocation made by those who do not want peace in Syria.

Lavrov said that US forces positioned in al-Tanf area and al-Rukban camp in Syrian al-Badiya (desert) are training terrorists and preventing the access of humanitarian aid to the needy people in the area.

Speaking at a press conference with Jordanian counterpart Ayman al-Safadi held in Sochi , Lavrov said “strange things are happening, including the training of the terrorists by US,” pointing out that the Americans are causing problems to prevent the delivery of the humanitarian aid to al-Rukban camp.

The Syrian government has agreed to deliver the humanitarian aid to al-Rukban camp, in cooperation with the humanitarian and international organizations, yet the US forces there prevented that and tried to set unacceptable conditions, Lavrov clarified.

Lavrov reiterated his country’s stance in supporting the efforts of the political settlement on the basis of UN Security Council no.2254, in line with countering terrorism, adding that Russia is cooperating with Jordan in this regard in the frame work of Astana meetings.

The terrorist organizations must be fought wherever they are according to the international decisions , Lavrov said, indicating that terrorist groups positioned in the de-escalation zone in southern Syria must be eliminated.

The de-escalation zones are temporary which lay the basis for a second stage of the crisis settlement in Syria when the situation stabilizes, Lavrov stresses.

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