Lavrov Warns of ‘Grave Consequences’ of US New Strike against Syria

MOSCOW- The consequences of a new US strike on Syria, the possibility of which was stated in the UN Security Council by United States Permanent Representative Nikki Haley, will be very serious, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"If a new strike of this kind takes place, the consequences will be very serious," Russia’s top diplomat stressed.

"Mrs. Haley should understand that it is one thing to irresponsibly exploit the microphone in the UN Security Council and it is another thing when both the Russian and American militaries have communication channels and it is clearly stated via these channels what can be done and what must not be done," Lavrov said.

"The US-led coalition knows well about that," the Russian foreign minister said, according to Itar Tass.

 Resolutions on Syria

The United States’ intention to submit a new draft resolution on Syria to the UN Security Council attests to Washington’s failure to implement Resolution 2401 on ceasefire in that Arab country, Lavrov said.

"Another aspect of the problem is our Western partners who make no secret of the fact that they have very close contacts with those who are currently in Eastern Ghouta and who have failed to fulfill their obligation under Resolution 2401, namely, to exert influence on their charges, clamp down on them and make them stop shelling residential areas. Our Western counterparts led by the US did neither one thing nor the other. The fact that yesterday [US Ambassador to the UN] Nikki Haley threatened to submit a new resolution means only one thing - they failed to implement the previous resolution," the minister stressed.

De-escalation zones

Moscow does not think it is expedient at this stage to discuss an increase in the number of de-escalation zones in Syria, according to Lavrov.

“do not think that we should seek to increase their number and expand their area. The most important thing now is to make sure that they are operating in the agreed ceasefire regime," the minister noted.

According to Lavrov, the de-escalation zones will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers in Astana on March 16.

"The most crucial task now is to prevent the continuation of blatant violations of this regime (ceasefire) in Eastern Ghouta," the minister added.

Last September, Russia, Iran and Turkey acting as the guarantors of the Astana process declared four de-escalation zones in Syria had been agreed: in the southwest of the country, in Eastern Ghouta (a Damascus suburb) and near the city of Homs. The fourth zone embraces the Idlib province and parts of the neighboring provinces of Aleppo, Lattakia and Hama.

Russia Vows to Retaliate against Militants’ Possible Provocations in Syria

In a statement on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia will respond to militants’ possible provocations, if they create a threat to the lives of military advisers in Syria.

"Against the backdrop of belligerent statements by the US permanent representative [to the UN], growing concern is caused by the incoming information on militants’ preparations to imitate the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government troops against civilians as the basis to justify US unilateral strikes against Damascus and government facilities in Syria," the ministry noted.

"Such criminal actions may also create a threat to the lives of Russian military advisers, including representatives of the Centre for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides, who are staying at establishments in Damascus and at facilities of the Syrian Defense Ministry," Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

"In this case, required retaliatory measures will be taken," the ministry said.