We have taken note of the article titled “The slaughter in Syria” by M.A. Niazi on March 23, 2018. Regretfully, instead of trying to provide a thorough insight into the current difficult military and political situation in the Syrian Arab Republic the author decided to advance unsubstantiated accusations. He claims that Russian military forces seek “a solution akin the notorious Final solution by Hitler” – leader of the internationally condemned nazi regime of Germany (1939-1945) – and act upon the assumption that “only when there are no more Syrians will there be peace in Syria”.

Not only is this comparison false but it is unethical with regard to Russia and its multiethnic people, that made a decisive contribution to the fight against the Nazis and suffered heaviest losses during the World War II. Moreover, our country annually submits a draft resolution against the glorification of Nazism to the UN General Assembly. Pakistan always co-sponsors it.

As for the situation in Syria, we would like to note the following. Unlike the American military, Russian armed forces stay in Syria on legal grounds. The Syrian government officially requested Russian assistance in eliminating tens of thousands of foreign terrorists of the “Islamic State” and “Jabhat al-Nusra”, who have been killing and oppressing Syrian civilians. On September 30, 2015 the operation of the Russian military forces against the abovementioned terrorist groups was launched. As a result, more than 85% of the Syrian territory has been cleared of terrorist presence, which allowed us to launch the political settlement and reconciliation processes. Since December 30, 2016 the regime of ceasefire has been effective in Syria.

Russia is undertaking significant political and diplomatic efforts for the ultimate settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Since January 2017, peace talks have been held in Astana, Kazakhstan (eight rounds took place to date) upon the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin. It is at these talks that the delegation of Damascus and the armed opposition sat at the negotiation table for the first time. The main result is that Russia, Iran and Turkey in the capacity of guarantors of the truce in Syria established a trilateral mechanism of control over the ceasefire in Syria. Moreover, de-escalation zones have been delimited, where the warring parties agreed to use no force and to ensure unimpeded access of humanitarian aid. Tangible results have also been achieved in distinction between opposition and terrorists.

On 31 January, 2018 the Syrian National Dialogue Congress was held in Sochi, Russia. There were more than 1600 participants. The event saw the launch of work on drafting the Constitution of the post-war Syria. The UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura who took part in the forum highly praised the Sochi Congress and the peacemaking efforts by Russia, Iran and Turkey in general.

In addition, we would like to note that following the hostilities in Eastern Ghouta “humanitarian pauses” have been created with the help of the Russian Reconciliation Center. 94 831 people have left combat areas during these “pauses”. The Syrian armed forces and the Russian Air Force continue this practice despite the fact that terrorist fighters with their families are fleeing alongside the civilians. Besides, civilians continue to return to their homes in the recaptured settlements of Sakba and Kafer-Batna of Eastern Ghouta.

 

The writer is the Ambassador of Russia to Pakistan.