Zasypkin: West preventing peaceful end to Syria crisis
BEIRUT: Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin accused the West of obstructing attempts to reach a political settlement in Syria.
“They [West] are preventing dialogue between the regime and the opposition,” Zasypkin told Al-Akhbar newspaper, arguing that the West was selling the idea that the Syrian people are incapable of resolving their own problems and thus needed foreign intervention.
He said Russia worked to prevent foreign intervention in all countries, including Syria.
“We could not prevent foreign intervention in Yugoslavia and the occupation of Iraq but things are different now,” he said.
“Russia will not accept any foreign assault on Syria,” he said.
Zasypkin also described the West’s recognition of the Syrian opposition as the country’s legitimate representatives as a “grave sin,” saying that the opposition could not be granted legitimacy in the absence of elections.
He also dismissed the argument that the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad could be separated as a group from what he said were “terrorists.”
“Saying that supporting the armed opposition is not a support for terrorism is illogical because opposition [groups], who might differ a little ideologically, are fighting in the same trench and arms will certainly be in their hands,” Zasypkin told Al-Akhbar newspaper.
He added that fighters from around the world were entering Syria and taking part in the fighting there.
On Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, the Russian envoy said Damascus is free to decide whether the resistance group is helping or working against it.
“Some are focusing on Hezbollah’s role in Syria and whatever is being said about [the party] fighting alongside the regime while condoning fighters being sent and arms from Lebanon to those fighting the regime,” he said.
“The Syrian regime is the one that decides who is violating its sovereignty and who isn’t and it is free to decide whether Hezbollah is helping it or not,” Zasypkin added.
On Lebanon, the ambassador criticized the role of the U.S. in Lebanese politics which he said favored one party over the other, reiterating that Russia remained at an equal distance from all sides in the country.