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Friday, February 19, 2016

Russia warns Syrian pres Assad to stay in line over ceasefire.

Russia warns Syrian pres Assad to stay in line over ceasefire. (AlAraby).

Russia’s envoy to the UN has warned Bashar al Assad not to step out of line with his most senior ally after comments by Syrian president seemed to snub efforts to cease violent hostilities.

"I heard President Assad's remarks on television... Of course they do not chime with the diplomatic efforts that Russia is undertaking”, Vitaly Churkin told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.

"Russia has invested very seriously in this crisis, politically, diplomatically and now also militarily.. Therefore we would like Assad also to respond to this."

Churkin’s words come in response to an interview with AFP last week, in which Assad stubbornly vowed to retake all of the areas that his regime had lost.

The warning issued by the Russian diplomat is the first instance of a public disagreement between the two allies, who have kept in sync since increased cooperation last autumn.

For Assad, such words will likely hold some sway, as his alliance with Russia has been crucial in allowing him to retain power.

Since September, Russia has stepped up its support of the embattled president by launching airstrikes on what it claims are Islamic state group and other ‘terrorist’ targets.

In his interview, Churkin warned that Syria was "already on the brink of falling apart", and stressed that it is important that it, “follows Russia's leadership in resolving this crisis”, if Assad’s regime is to, “have a chance to come out of it in a dignified way."

"If they in some way stray from this path -- and this is my personal opinion -- a very difficult situation could arise. Including for themselves," he continued. Read the full story here.

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