Russia warns against military intervention in Syria

Russia on Sunday welcomed Damascus' offer to allow a mission by UN inspectors probing alleged chemical weapons use and warned the West that an Iraq scenario in Syria would be a "tragic mistake", saying that any unilateral military action in Syria would undermine efforts for peace and have a "devastating impact" on the security situation in the Middle East. Russia has urged action to get all Syria opposition groups to agree to talks, said threats of force against the Syrian government counterproductive.

"We once again decisively urge (the United States) not to repeat the mistakes of the past and not to allow actions that go against international law. Any unilateral military action bypassing the United Nations will ... lead to further escalation (in Syria) and will affect the already explosive situation in the Middle East in the most devastating way," the ministry said.

Moscow has urged Western leaders to avoid attempts to a priori force biased conclusions on UN inspectors who will look for evidence of reported chemical weapon attacks in the Syria on August 21.

"We again resolutely urge all those who are trying to force conclusions on the UN experts and who say that armed action against Syria is possible to show common sense and avoid tragic mistakes," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement the text of which is posted on the ministry's website, www.mid.ru.

"Policies on various crises must be based on international law and authentic facts instead of attempts to match surmises and inventions with unilateral geopolitical projects," he said. On Sunday the Syrian government agreed to allow UN inspectors to come to Syria and check allegations of the attacks. "This has become the result of our intensive work with Damascus," Lukashevich said.

"We are satisfied with the constructive attitude of the Syrian leadership to organizing effective interaction with the UN mission. In our view, it opens up opportunities for careful, unbiased and objective investigations into all circumstances of what happened in the Damascus suburb, something that we have persistently been calling for," he said.

"It is important that the "armed opposition" that controls some of the areas in the eastern part of Ghouta [the suburb where the alleged attacks took place] should provide security guarantees for the expert mission and should not dare resort to the provocative use of weapons against them as was the case with a UN observer mission last summer. We appeal to everyone who has any influence on Syria's illegal armed groups to put pressure on them for this purpose," the spokesman said.

M.D