Putin: Shelling from E. Ghouta which hit Russian embassy in Syria ‘won’t be tolerated forever’

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
By Paul Martin

28 Feb, 2018

Moscow is not going to keep tolerating the daily shelling of Damascus by eastern Ghouta militants that recently hit the Russian embassy in Syria, President Vladimir Putin said after meeting Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The current hotspot of the Syrian crisis – Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus – is being used by numerous terrorist groups as a base, from which they launch attacks on the capital and other areas in the country, Putin said, responding to a Russian media journalist’s question on the situation there. Damascus is being shelled up to 80 times a day from the besieged area.

Putin particularly stressed that the Russian embassy in Damascus has come under mortar fire. The building has been shelled and suffered damage on numerous occasions during the Syrian conflict. On February 6, the Russian trade mission in the Syrian capital was also targeted. Luckily, the building was unoccupied, but civilians were injured in the attack.

“It’s well-known – at least, we know this well in Russia – that shells land even on the territory of the Russian embassy and trade mission. Are we going to tolerate this forever?” the president wondered.

Kurz urged Russia to influence the Syrian government and the situation in the country in order to facilitate a diplomatic resolution of the conflict.

“I appeal to Russia, as it has influence there [in Syria] and has a responsibility. Being a superpower, it can influence the regime [of President Bashar Assad], the situation in Syria. Therefore, we hope that everyone will return to the negotiating table and swiftly stop this war,” Kurz said.

“The situation is difficult [in Syria], the prospects of the peaceful settlement depend on the warring parties – on their internal desire to achieve this settlement and preserve the territorial integrity and unity of their country,” Putin said, adding that “the influence of regional countries and key international players is very important.”

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