Syria truce should not benefit terrorists says Iran’s Zarif
Tehran, Feb 22 (IANS) Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday said that any ceasefire in Syria should not give an advantage to terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country.
“A ceasefire (in Syria) does not mean allowing IS, al-Nusra Front, and other Al Qaeda-affiliated groups to carry on their activities,” Zarif was quoted by Press TV during a joint press conference here.
Zarif said that Iran has always supported any kind of truce in Syria, adding, however, that the details of such a plan should be discussed.
“Iran has always believed that the crisis in Syria has no military solution,” the Iranian minister said, adding, “the plans presented so far have brought about (the issue of) ceasefire, and Iran has emphasized the matter in addition to the delivery of humanitarian aid since the first negotiation meeting in Vienna.”
The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) agreed in the German city of Munich on February 12 to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria and to implement a ceasefire in a week. However, acts of terrorism continues unabated in the country.
The ISSG said in a statement that the ceasefire in Syria does not include areas held by groups designated as terrorist organisations by the UN Security Council, including IS and al-Nusra Front.
The ISSG members also asked the UN to resume the collapsed peace talks between the Syrian government and the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition group known as the High Negotiations Committee.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on February 15 that “a ceasefire means in the first place halting the terrorists from strengthening their positions. Movement of weapons, equipment or terrorists, or fortification of positions, will not be allowed.”
Syria has been gripped by “foreign-backed” militancy since March 2011. According to a new report by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.