Kremlin Denies HRW Allegations Russia Using Cluster Bombs in Syria

A Su-34 strike aircraft

 

Moscow denies allegations its Aerospace Forces have used cluster bombs in the fight against terrorism in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

  Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report Sunday that Moscow and Damascus had used cluster munitions, which are internationally banned weapons, in fight against militants in Syria.

In response to the report, Peskov told journalists:

“Russia is conducting its operation in strict compliance with the principles and norms of international law, including all parts of international law that regulate the use, non-use, or prohibition of one or another type of weaponry and no one should have any doubts about this.”

Syria has been in the state of civil war since 2011, with the core of the conflict being a struggle between troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition forces, as well as terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, known as Daesh in Arabic, which is outlawed in Russia and many other countries.On September 30, Russia launched airstrikes on Daesh positions in Syria following a request from Assad. According to the Russian military, all their targets are chosen based on intelligence collected by Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. High-precision weapons are used in the anti-terrorist operations.

 

Aerospace Force’s mission in Syria more effective than American – press secretary

Dmitry Peskov also said that the Russian and French military have been discussing already an action plan for Syria

Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov

Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov

© Anna Isakova/press-service of the State Duma of the Russian Federation/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, November 28. /TASS/. The mission of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria is more effective in quality than the U.S. mission, Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the Vesti V Subbotu (News on Saturday) television programme.

“The territory, controlled by terrorists is shrinking (over the time of the Russian mission),” he said. “This proves the mission is qualitatively different. It is more effective. Those are not conclusions of political analysts, but the reality, which may be announced.”

He called an “undeniable fact” result of the U.S.-led coalition’s actions, which had been in Iraq and in Syria for 15 months.

“Unfortunately, that mission, which lasted for over a year, has resulted in bigger territories controlled by IS (Islamic State),” he said. “It is for the first time now, thanks to the mission of the Russian Aerospace Force, which is not that long yet, the tendency has changed radically”.

Russian, French military discuss action plan in Syria

The Russian and French military have been discussing already an action plan for Syria, though it is too early yet to announce the coalition is ready to cooperate, said Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

The Russian side keeps the door open for any cooperation acceptable for the U.S.-led coalition, he said, adding “as yet, we cannot see, say, mutual readiness.”

He continued saying some countries had chosen to leave now the “pressing position” demanding an immediate resignation of Bashar Assad.

“Now that most Syrian territory is controlled by IS, Nusra and other terrorist organisations, it seems unrealistic to organise whatever elections,” the press secretary said. “Nor realistic are talks about a political settlement. The only force on the ground, which is fighting terrorism, is the Syrian Armed Forces”.

Russia is adamant about territory integrity of Middle East countries

Russia is for territory and political integrity of the Middle East countries, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told.

“You know, it is a very sensitive region, and thus inarguable provision is to remain – the territory and political integrity of all the countries in the region: both Syria, and Turkey, and Iraq,” he said. “Otherwise, the consequences may be catastrophic for the region, which actually neighbours our borders.”

The anchorman said about various political and ethnic groups acting in the region, including, for example, the Kurdish militia.

“The Kurdish militia, well, in fact they are fighting most effectively both in northern Iraq, and fighting effectively the Islamic State (a terrorist group outlawed in Russia),” Peskov said. “They are a more realistic force in fighting IS than the ephemeral Free Syrian Army.”

The presidential press secretary preferred to leave unanswered a question from the anchorman whether Russia should intensify contacts with the Kurds.

“Here, I have said everything I could,” Peskov replied.