Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has made clear that that ending the smuggling across the Turkish-Syrian frontier is a key condition for the success of a ceasefire.
“The key component for the ceasefire to be operational is the burning issue of arms smuggling across the Turkish-Syrian border, supplying the militants [in Syria],” Lavrov said.
Without the smuggling being disrupted, “it is hard to expect the ceasefire to take place – ever,” he said.
Lavrov also expressed that the Syrian opposition demands that the Russian Air Force halt its anti-terrorist campaign as “short-sighted.”
“Entertaining a hope that ultimatum-like pre-conditions could help solve problems, I believe, is a short-sighted and dead-end policy,” Lavrov said.
“It looks like certain members of that [Riyadh-formed] delegation have been excessively pampered by their sponsors, our Turkish neighbors in the first place, which unilaterally blocked from the [current] negotiations the powerful and influential Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD),” Lavrov noted.
Lavrov also emphasized that the Russian Air Force operation in Syria is set to continue.
“I see no reason why the operation of our Air Force in Syria should be stopped, as long as the terrorists are not defeated yet,” he said.
“We’re glad that with the success of the Russian campaign in Syria, the [US-led] coalition’s operations have become more effective,” Lavrov said.
He also expressed hope there would be greater coordination between Russia and the US-led coalition air forces.
“Being pragmatic, we’re interested in coordination of our efforts with the US-led coalition. And not only to avoid incidents, but in something more practical and in-demand today: real-time coordination between those [forces] operating on the ground and the air force of Russia and the coalition,” Lavrov said.