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Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, celebrated the lasting reign of Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad, during a speech to parliament on Wednesday, according to INTERFAX.
“The collapse of the Syrian state has been prevented, the civil war virtually has been stopped, as well as the attempts to change the legal government [in Syria], directed from abroad,” Shoigu said in the statement. “[The Russian military] solved the geopolitical tasks, caused substantial damage to the international terrorist organizations in Syria, disrupted their financial support and the system of their recourses supply.”
The minister emphasized the role Turkey has played in identifying and fighting against the rebels. Through the fight between government and opposition forces in Aleppo, 40,000 residents of the city were evacuated with the help of Turkish troops, according to the minister.
At the end of January – right around the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump - the Free Syrian Army, one of the main anti-Assad militant groups, took part in peace talks in the Kazakh capital under the oversight of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Just this week, the FSA hoped that the CIA’s freeze in financial and arms assistance was only temporary and not a sign that the new administration in Washington D.C. is abandoning its moderate rebel allies on the ground in Syria.
Related: Is The Trump Administration About To Rescue The Russian Economy?
Trump has proposed the creation of “safe zones” in Syria for refugees fleeing the violence of the six year civil war. Shoigu acknowledged the proposal but said he awaited “further clarification.”
“In principal, we proceed from the fact that such initiatives should take into account the actual situation ‘on the ground’ in Syria, where many players operate [both] with their own ground forces as well as in the airspace,” the minister said. “Designating our understanding of what can be discussed, we expect clarification from Washington.”
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…