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Russia: Western Countries Spent Billions to Support Syria Opposition

Russia: Western Countries Spent Billions to Support Syria Opposition

Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 - 09:45
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) attends the Syria peace talks in Astana in March 2018. (Reuters)
Moscow - Raed Jaber

Western countries have spent billions of dollars to support the armed opposition in Syria, according to the Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin, warning that extremists fleeing the Syrian regime strikes have flooded the European cities.

Speaking at an international meeting of senior security officials in Ufa, capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, Naryshkin gave a presentation on the achievements of the Russian security and military services in Syria, including containing extremist groups.

Despite spending billions of dollars to support the armed opposition, Western countries have not yet been able to separate the moderate factions from the terrorist al-Nusra Front, he remarked.

Moreover, he warned Western countries of the consequences of approaching terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, describing them as “very dangerous.”

He explained that after ISIS’ defeat in Syria and Iraq, some Western countries are considering moving the terrorist front to another area located farther away from Europe, like Afghanistan or Central Asia.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev arrived in Beirut on Tuesday to follow up with officials on the latest developments related to the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

The envoy handed Lebanon an invitation to participate as an observer in the Astana peace talks set for July.

Lavrentiev was in Baghdad on Monday where he met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to discuss regional developments and cooperation and Iraq’s participation in the Astana conference also as an observer.

He welcomed joint action between Iraq and Russia in combating terrorism and seeking stability in Syria and the whole region.

During the latest round of Astana talks held in Nur-Sultan last month, Turkey, Russia and Iran, serving as guarantor states, agreed on inviting Lebanon and Iraq to join as observers.

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