Syria Situation ‘Improving’ – Russian Foreign Ministry

The situation in Syria is gradually improving mainly due to the efforts of the UN observers monitoring the ceasefire in the violence-torn country, a spokesman for Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich said.

“As I’ve already said, the violence level has already dropped significantly …The situation in Syria is tending toward improvement, though it is a rather fragile trend,” Lukashevich said.

The diplomat pointed out that the gradual restoration of peace became possible mainly because of the efforts by the group of the UN observers who oversaw the implementation of the ceasefire in the violence-hit cities of Homs and Hama.

Lukashevich also said that the dispatch of 300 military observers to Syria authorized by the UN Security Council on Saturday will help to track implementation of the UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

The Ministry’s spokesman warned against politicizing the humanitarian aid issue and said that Moscow strongly opposed the idea of creating humanitarian corridors and buffer zones.

Russia, which opposes outside interference in the Syrian conflict, is concerned about the recent statements from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who pledged to turn to NATO to counter threats from Syria, Lukashevich said.

His comments come after Erdogan said on Thursday in an interview with Al-Jazeera that over 25,000 Syrian citizens have fled their country and crossed into Turkey, violating the border. Erdogan said Ankara had the right to turn to NATO for help.

The ceasefire, part of UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, came into force in Syria on April 12, although there have been reports of numerous violations of the truce by both government and opposition forces.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad last March, according to the UN.

Moscow has twice vetoed UN Security Council resolutions over what it called a pro-rebel bias since the start of the uprising against Assad, but has given its full backing to Kofi Annan’s peace plan.


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