Russia says it will consider U.N. cease-fire in Syria

By Sara Shayanian  |  Feb. 22, 2018 at 10:59 AM
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Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Russia is ready to consider a United Nations-brokered cease-fire in Syria, as long as it doesn't cover the Islamic State or other terror groups.

The U.N. Security Council is set to meet Thursday to discuss an emergency resolution after more than 300 people were killed in a five-day assault on the rebel-held Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta.

The area has been under siege by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's government forces since 2013, as the last remaining rebel-held area east of Damascus.

"We are ready to study the resolution that we were proposed to adopt, but we offered a very strict wording that would say that the cease-fire regime does not cover the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and the groups that support them and regularly shell the residential neighborhoods of Damascus," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Lavrov added that Russia's "Western partners" wouldn't agree to excluding terrorists from the cease-fire agreement.

"Each time such terrorist attacks come from Eastern Ghouta, we know that behind them is Jabhat al-Nusra and extremist groups cooperating with it," he said.

"We have appealed to the Security Council to make a principled evaluation of these unacceptable terror attacks, but each time our American and European partners have dodged this reaction."

Russia has used its position as a member of the Security Council to veto most U.N. action in Syria.

However, on Thursday, the Kremlin said that Russia was not responsible for the escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria.

"Those who support the terrorists are responsible," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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