DAMASCUS: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Damascus on Saturday that his country “will not remain passive” as jihadists push an offensive in Syria’s neighbour Iraq.

“Russia will not remain passive to the attempts by some groups to spread terrorism in the region,” Ryabkov told journalists after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

Sunni militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS) which is active in both Syria and Iraq, have seized vast territory north and west of Baghdad since launching their offensive two weeks ago.

Ryabkov, whose country is Assad’s main backer, did not elaborate on what steps Russia might take.

“The situation is very dangerous in Iraq and the foundations of the Iraqi state are under threat,” he said.

Ryabkov also reiterated Moscow’s position that the crises in Syria and Iraq must be resolved “through a genuine national dialogue”.

Asked about Washington’s decision to support moderate rebels in Syria, Ryabkov said: “There can be no alternative to a political solution.” He added: “We reject this US policy. It is in everybody’s interest, including the Americans, to act responsibly on Syria.” President Barack Obama has asked US lawmakers to authorise a $500 million plan to arm and train the Syrian opposition, which has been fighting both Assad’s troops and the jihadist ISIS.

Ryabkov said Damascus had taken a “responsible” decision in handing over its chemical weapons arsenal, while calling on Israel to “abide by” the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2014

Opinion

Editorial

Dark days
Updated 26 May, 2022

Dark days

The PTI, on its part, does not seem to have been prepared to face such a large deployment of state machinery.
26 May, 2022

No room for dissent

WHILE political turmoil roils the land, a number of incidents over the past few days have demonstrated that though...
26 May, 2022

Harassing passengers

REPORTS of the confiscation of personal items from passengers’ private luggage by customs officials at Karachi’s...
Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...