Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the counter-terrorism fight in Syria is not over yet and it is necessary to eliminate militants in the country’s northwestern Idlib Province.
“The work [in Syria] is in full swing, a lot is yet to be done. At the same time, it is necessary to deal a final blow to terrorists near Idlib, which still remain there,” Lavrov said while speaking on the sidelines of the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting in Singapore on Thursday.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian minister said only the Syrian people were entitled to determine the fate of their country, not external players, whose meddling in the war-torn state’s affairs was “counterproductive.”
Lavrov said that based on the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 only the Syrians should decide the future of their homeland and that Syria’s unity and independence should be preserved.
The top Russian diplomat also criticized attempts by external players to determine Syria’s future and form of government.
“There are some external players who would prefer to decide everything for the Syrians but it is the Syrian people who should rule the country, determine its form of government and write a constitution. We do not support such attempts as we consider them to be counterproductive,” he said.
Lavrov further stressed that Russia, as a member of the Astana peace process, had put forward an initiative for the establishment of a Syrian constitutional committee.
“It is not easy work but we will continue to help compile a member list that the government and other members of the constitutional committee will accept,” he said.
Recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian media that Damascus’ next priority would be retaking Idlib.