“The war in Syria has really come to an end. The country is gradually returning to a normal, peaceful life. Some hotspots of tensions remain in the territories that are not controlled by the Syrian government, such as Idlib and the eastern bank of the Euphrates,” Russia’s Sputnik news agency cited Lavrov as saying in an exclusive interview with Russian newspaper the Trud on Thursday.
The top Russian then pointed to the provision of humanitarian aid for affected civilians and “promotion of political process on settling the crisis to achieve stable and long-lasting stabilization of the situation in the country and the whole Middle East region” as the most important issues regarding Syria.
Lavrov added, “We believe the formation and launch of a committee designed to develop the constitutional reform will be an important step in advancing the political process led and carried out by Syrians themselves with the UN assistance.”
“In fact, its convention will enable the Syrian sides – the government and the foreign-sponsored armed opposition – to begin for the first time a direct dialogue on their country's future,” he commented.
Lavrov went on to say that Russia has taken some steps to “support the efforts of the Syrian government in its fight against terrorists, who still remain in the Idlib zone, and promote issues concerning humanitarian assistance and facilitation of the political process in the context of formation of the constitutional committee.”
The Russian foreign minister later criticized sanctions that the United States and European countries have slapped on the Syrian government, describing the measures as fully counterproductive.
Russia has been helping Syrian forces in ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country. Syrians continue to recapture key areas from Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist groups across the country.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that had been wreaking havoc in the country.
Militants open fire on civilians at Rukban camp
Separately, US-sponsored militants have opened fire at displaced Syrians stranded in a camp near the Jordanian border after the latter demanded that delivered humanitarian food be distributed among them.
Head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in the Syrian Arab Republic, Major General Alexey Bakin, said members of the so-called Forces of Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo militant group have seized a significant amount of cargo delivered by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to the Rukban camp, and moved the consignment to their base north of the camp.
“On September 11, militants opened fire with small arms at a market in Rukban to disperse civilians demanding food,” Bakin said.
The United Nations says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped inside Rukban, where conditions are desperate. This is while Geneva-based international aid agency Doctors Without Borders has put the number at some 60,000.
On March 6, Lavrov said the United States needed the Rukban refugee camp in order to justify its illegitimate military presence in Syria.
"The fact that people are not allowed to leave [the camp] and are held hostage makes one suggest that the US needs this camp to continue justifying its illegitimate presence there,” Lavrov said.
“This is in line with the US policy aimed at creating something like a quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. It does not want these territories to get back under the control of Syria’s legitimate authorities.”