US-Led Coalition's Airstrike against Syrian Forces Illegitimate, Unlawful

NICOSIA- The new strike of the US Air Force in Syria confirms Washington’s intention to use the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) for the fight against the Syrian government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday, according to Itar Tass.

Moscow is concerned over differences in understanding the need to unite those who indeed fight on the ground and in the air against terrorists of the so-called Islamic State and the former Jabhat al-Nusra, he said.

 "We see the confirmation of an intention to use opposition and some extremists, including Jabhat al-Nusra, in the fight against the legitimate government of Syria," Lavrov said.

This comes amid Washington’s calls to stop all contacts with the Syrian government, he said, noting that the US Congress had passed a law demanding punishment for those who cooperate with the legitimate government of Syria.

"This distracts us from the Syrian settlement and the major goal of this settlement - preventing the seizure of Syria and other parts of the Middle East by terrorists-," Lavrov said. "So, what we hear about Washington’s position on Syria now is in fact coddling terrorists."

The warning

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has no information that Washington warned Moscow before delivering an air strike on Syrian pro-government forces, Lavrov pointed out:

"I don’t know about any such warning."

US air strike against pro-government forces in Syria was illegitimate, unlawful and a flafrant violation of the Syrian sovereignty regardless of what had caused it, the Russian diplomat added.

"The US command said the strike was delivered because these pro-government forces posed a threat to the [opposition] which cooperates with the US-led coalition."

"Whatever the reason the US command made such a decision, the strike was illegitimate and unlawful. It was yet another crude violation of Syria’s sovereignty," he stated.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Friday described the attacks as “unacceptable,” which also claimed the lives of civilians.

Speaking in Geneva, Gatilov said the strikes violated Syria’s sovereignty and would not help efforts to achieve a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the country.