Reuters reports: President Bashar al-Assad was out of step with the views of his main ally, Russia, when he said he planned to fight on until he re-established control over all of Syria, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations was quoted as saying on Thursday.
In the first public sign of cracks in the alliance between Moscow and Damascus, the envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said Russia had helped Assad turn the tide of the war so it was now incumbent on him to follow Russia’s line and commit to peace talks.
Churkin said Russia was working towards a peaceful settlement for Syria, and that attempting to take back control over the whole country would be a futile exercise which would allow the conflict to drag on indefinitely.
Asked in an interview with Kommersant newspaper about Assad’s comments that he would keep fighting until all rebels were defeated, Churkin said: “Russia has invested very seriously in this crisis, politically, diplomatically, and now also in the military sense.
“Therefore we of course would like that Bashar al Assad should take account of that.”
“I heard President Assad’s remarks on television… Of course they do not chime with the diplomatic efforts that Russia is undertaking…. The discussions are about a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities in the foreseeable future. Work is underway on this.” [Continue reading…]