Syria FM dismisses UN proposal for east Aleppo autonomy

Press TV- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has strongly dismissed a United Nations proposal concerning the establishment of an autonomous region run by foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the eastern part of the strategically northwestern city of Aleppo.

“This was completely rejected… This is a violation of our sovereignty,” he said in a televised news conference following a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in Damascus on Sunday.

Muallem then made it clear that the incumbent Syrian government has no intention to decrease attacks on terrorist positions in the eastern flank of Aleppo, located some 355 kilometers north of the capital Damascus, and that the Damascus administration does not accept leaving civilians there to be taken hostage by militants.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura gestures upon his arrival in Damascus, ahead of his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem (not in picture), November 20, 2016. (via SANA)

“We agreed on the need that terrorists should get out of east Aleppo to end the suffering of the civilians in the city,” the top Syrian diplomat said.

Syrian government forces will eventually emerge victorious, liberate Aleppo and restore calm to all areas of the city, he stressed.

Muallem further pointed out that that government will spare militants that lay down their weapons and turn themselves in to authorities across the country, noting that the government welcomes those who have fled the country as refugees.

The Syrian foreign minister also expressed his country’s firm support for the large-scale operation by Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units to recapture the city of Mosul from Daesh.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem speaks at a news conference after holding talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Damascus on November 20, 2016.

He, however, argued that the international community is not offering such support to a military offensive on Aleppo because of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, and the fact that the United States has multiple scenarios and plans in a bid to salvage the terror network.

Muallem also called on the US President-elect Donald Trump to put an end to Washington’s support for militant groups inside Syria, and restrain countries in the Middle East region that sponsor them militarily and financially.

“What we want from the new [US] administration is not just to stop support (for armed groups)… but to curb those regional powers that are supporting those groups… we have to wait,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Muallem described Moscow-Ankara ties as economic, noting that Damascus views Moscow as a friend and ally whereas it considers Ankara as an aggressor that has invaded the Syrian soil and undermined the central government’s sovereignty.

He termed as positive the latest international developments concerning the Syrian conflict, praising the strong alliance between Russia, Syria, the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. De Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.