US Trying to Partition Syria: Russian FM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the United States is trying to "break up" Syria, RIA Novosti reported.

According to the Russian diplomat, there is evidence that the US and its allies have plans to divide the war-torn country.

"The information that we receive from a wide variety of sources indicates that a narrow, non-inclusive group formed by the Americans on Syrian issues is developing plans for the collapse of the Syrian state," Lavrov told reporters during a press briefing on Monday.

The minister added that Moscow regrets the fact that not all Western countries are ready to behave "honestly" in regard to the current state of affairs in Syria.

The Russian foreign minister criticized Western states’ stance on the Syrian crisis and said that their actions on the ground are in violation of UNSC Resolution 2401.

"The major clause of this resolution requires that all — I emphasize, all — the parties to the Syrian conflict agree on a ceasefire in order to provide at least a 30-day pause for delivery of humanitarian aid," Lavrov said at a press conference in Namibia, adding that Damascus is being pressured to stop its military operation despite the fact that it is targeting al-Nusra Front militants who are not covered by the truce regime.

He went on to say that Russia has mounting evidence that "Western partners, especially the United States, would like to take the heat off al-Nusra Front, which has now changed its name — but this does not mean it has changed its nature — and save it, in case they decide to return to plan 'B,' which is to change the regime in Damascus."

The Russian foreign minister stressed that al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group, adding that Russian and Syrian efforts to battle it are in line with the ceasefire regime settled by the UNSC resolution.

Resolution 2401, adopted February 24, urges all parties to the conflict to immediately stop all clashes and adhere to a long-term humanitarian ceasefire for at least 30 days across the entire Syrian territory in order to ensure the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid supplies as well as the medical evacuation of injured people.

The resolution stipulates, though, that the cessation of hostilities does not apply to military operations against Daesh, al-Qaeda, Nusra Front "and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with terrorist groups, as designated by the Council."

The al-Nusra militants, who have entrenched themselves in East Ghouta east of the Syrian capital along with other terrorists, have been violating the ceasefire by shelling Damascus neighborhoods and preventing civilians from leaving the area.

Lavrov's remarks come after United States Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May talked over the phone and agreed on Sunday that Russia and Syria are to be blamed for the "heart-breaking human suffering" in the Syrian rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

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