Moscow notes with satisfaction the continued cooperation with the United States on all issues related to ensuring the cessation of hostilities in Syria. To this end, Russia and the United States as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) use a number of communication channels, including military ones. Today, it’s safe to say that the ceasefire in Syria introduced on February 27 is largely complied with.
There’s a marked drop in the level of violence. The number of armed opposition groups that chose the path of reconciliation rather than fighting, is on the rise.
However, the monitoring data shows that several militia units do not comply with the ceasefire and not only distance themselves from, but instead team up with Jabhat al-Nusra, which is on the UNSC list of terrorist groups.
Right from the outset, Moscow was well aware of these and other difficulties involved in implementing joint Russia-US agreements. In this regard, we have immediately invited our American partners to establish an appropriate joint facility, which would provide for exchanging information, recording ceasefire violations and punishing the perpetrators. Our contacts with the Americans in this area have been maintained for a long time now. However, they haven’t led to the identification by Russia and the United States as ISSG co-chairs of the conditions for detecting and suppressing ceasefire violations. We are convinced that by doing so we are sending a wrong signal to the opposition groups who haven’t joined the ceasefire and failed to properly distance themselves from clearly terrorist groups.
We are still interested to identify, in conjunction with the United States and other ISSG members, our responses to ceasefire violations based on the decisions adopted by the International Syria Support Group’s Munich plenary session. At the same time, we believe it is dangerous and counterproductive to endlessly delay the development of a shared position. In this connection, we do not rule out the possibility that we will have to one-sidedly use force to curb the actions of the rebels who fail to comply with the ceasefire arrangements.