The West’s policy of dividing Syrian terrorists into “the bad” and “the not so bad” is dangerous, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
“Our colleagues at the UN Security Council refuse to condemn terrorist attacks,” he said in an interview with the RT television network. “They say terrorism is bad but at the same time urge us to take into account the Syrian situation and the reason people are attacking government forces,” he said.
“Our Western colleagues have started dividing terrorists into ‘bad’ and ‘acceptable.’ That is very dangerous.”
Western countries that want President Bashar al-Assad to go should tell him in so many words, he said, adding that some regional players have requested Moscow to ask Assad to leave in exchange for a safe haven.
“My answer is very simple: Why use us as a postman: If President Assad is interested, then this [plan] should be discussed with him directly,” Lavrov said.
Syria’s opposition coalition on Thursday reiterated its condemnation of the Russian government’s policy and position on political and military support for Assad’s regime but denied it has declared “open season” on Russian nationals.
“The National Coalition states unequivocally that the Russian leadership alone bears the entire responsibility for its actions and Russian citizens are not to blame for that,” it said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday confirmed media reports that two Russians and an Italian had been abducted near the western Syrian port city of Latakia as they were travelling along the Tartus-Homs highway. The hostages were reportedly abducted by one of the Syrian opposition groups who demanded a ransom of over $700,000 for their release.
The conflict between government troops and opposition forces has claimed the lives of over 30,000 people since March 2011, according to UN figures.