Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the United States not to “play with fire” in Syria.
“I once again call on our American colleagues to avoid playing with fire and measure their steps proceeding not from immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from long-term interests of the Syrian people and of all peoples of this region, including the Kurds, of course, be it Syria or Iraq or other countries of the region,” Lavrov was reported as saying by the English language web news site of Al Arabiya said at the opening of the Valdai Club in Moscow yesterday.
“[The United States] involved the units of the Kurdish Democratic Union party in their position to undermine Syria’s territorial integrity, in fact, which led to an escalation of tensions with Turkey,” Lavrov said, adding that the United States should stop “playing very dangerous games, which will lead to the disintegration of the Syrian state.”
Russian contractor deaths
Lavrov expressed his country’s concern about American attempts to divide Syria, saying that “such concerns arise after studying the plans which the US is starting to implement on soil, mainly east of the Euphrates, on the vast territories between this river and Syria’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.” He also accused the United States of using the Kurdish Democratic Union political party to divide Syria -- particularly in Afrin, a Syrian zone of US influence in which Turkish troops are fighting. The Syrian Arab News Agency, said Monday that opposition forces will soon arrive in the area to combat a month-long Turkish offensive in the area.
The Russian minister called on the US administration to take steps to confirm that their sole objective in Syria is to combat Daesh.
He highlighted the urgent need for humanitarian aid to the Rukban refugee camp which lies along the demilitarized berm between Jordan and Syria.
Lavrov told Russian agencies that hundreds of Russian security contractors have been killed in recent weeks in Syria. Informed sources told Reuters last week that 300 contactors working for a Russian security firm tied to the Kremlin were injured or killed.