Russia, Iran warn world powers not to jump gun on Syria talks: Moscow

11th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia and Iran on Wednesday warned other international players not to stymy attempts to get talks going between the Syrian government and opposition aimed at ending the war, Moscow said.

Around 20 countries and international bodies will meet in the Austrian capital Vienna on Saturday to try to push forward a peace plan that would include a ceasefire between Bashar al-Assad's regime and some opposition groups, and talks to find a political solution.

Neither representatives of the regime or opposition are expected to attend at this stage of the dialogue.

"Outside players... must help the sides reach an agreement and not replace the intra-Syrian negotiations or try to anticipate their results," Russia's foreign ministry said after a phone talk between Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Russia and Iran are the strongest backers of Assad and are both involved militarily in helping his forces fight on the ground.

The US, much of the West and regional players such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey strongly oppose Assad and have called for him to go if there is to be any political resolution to the brutal four-year conflict.

Meanwhile on the ground Syria's army broke a more than year-long Islamic State siege of a military air base in the country's north Tuesday, scoring its first major breakthrough since Russia's air campaign began on September 30.

Moscow's defence ministry said the breakthrough was achieved "as a result of the actions of Russian aviation" and that "opposition" groups had helped provide information on targets, without specifying which groups.

Over the past two days Russian planes hit 277 "terrorist" targets across Syria, the defence ministry said.

Russia says it is bombing the Islamic State group and other "terrorists" in Syria, but the US and its allies have said Moscow is mainly targeting more moderate forces fighting Assad.


© 2015 AFP

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