Russia says demands for Assad removal impedes political solution

Russia has called for an end to demands for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the discussions impede efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Moscow was calling for an end to the discussions about Assad’s future.

He said the issue should be decided later by the parties involved in the Syrian conflict, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. The Daesh Takfiri terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of the country.  The CIA began its covert operations in 2013 to arm, fund and train militants to fight the Assad government. Many of those militants later joined forces with Daesh.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 270,000 people have since been killed in the war-ravaged country; however, some reports put the death toll as high as 470,000.

A “cessation of hostilities,” brokered by Russia and the US, has been underway in Syria for over a month to find a political solution for the conflict. The talks came to a halt earlier in March because the opposition argued that Assad must step down before a transitional government is established.

Ryabkov said late last month that Moscow reached an understanding with Washington not to discuss Assad’s future any longer.

President Assad has expressed readiness to hold snap presidential elections if Syrians so choose, although it is not included in the current political process.

The Syrian leader stressed last month that both the government and opposition should be included in a Syrian unity government, while rejecting the “transitional body with full executive powers” that the foreign-backed opposition and the US are pushing for in a move that entails Assad’s departure.

In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against Daesh, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

By Press TV