Russia: Threat of terrorists using chemical weapons still remains, de-escalation zones aim at reaching comprehensive truce

Moscow, SANA – Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov affirmed on Monday that the threat of terrorists using chemical weapons in Syria still remains.

Peskov told reporters on Monday that there was repeated information about possible provocations with the usage of toxic substances, noting that making them public was likely to help to avoid such provocations.

A number of Turkish MPs revealed that terrorist organizations in Syria, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, received sarin gas from Turkey and used it in different areas in Syria.

On another note, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that the de-escalation zones reached during the recent Astana meeting on Syria aimed at reaching a comprehensive truce across the entire Syrian territory, refuting the claims that these zones “create the conditions that threaten to divide the country.”

In a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei in Moscow, Lavrov said that Moscow has stressed many times that this temporary measure should be implemented in other Syrian area, adding “however, there are those who seek to make claims that the initiators of de-escalation zones will bring about Syria’s division. This is not true, putting it mildly.”

Lavrov said that these provocative statements are similar to those used in relation to the situation in eastern Aleppo, adding that tens of thousands of residents are now returning to their homes there, yet media outlets don’t mention this.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that the de-escalation zones are not aimed at creating preconditions for Syria’s breakup,” Lavrov pointed out, explaining that the idea is about the need to start moving towards peace, a ceasefire and de-escalation all across Syria, but trying to attain all these in one go throughout the country is quite difficult to do, therefore a decision was taken to start with these four zones.

He added that these zones have been agreed upon and now efforts are underway to hammer out specific details linked to ensuring the monitoring of ceasefire commitments and other details.

Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh

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