Moscow, Beirut – The expectations of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were not fulfilled after he was optimistic to reach an agreement with the U.S. – concerning the withdrawal of armed fighters from the city of Aleppo.
Despite the failed expectations, Lavrov continued to threaten that Moscow would crush all armed factions if they do not leave eastern Aleppo, where regime forces and their allies have tightened the noose on opposition fighters after controlling more neighborhoods in the area.
In a press conference held in Moscow on Tuesday, Lavrov said the U.S. abruptly informed the Russians it was unable to send experts to participate in the Geneva talks on Tuesday.
“They have withdrawn their document and have a new one. Our initial impression is that this new document backtracks, and is an attempt to buy time for the militants, allow them to catch their breath and resupply,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister told Syrian opposition fighters: “Those who refuse to leave nicely will be destroyed. There is no other way.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denied Moscow’s charges that Washington has stalled planned talks on terrorists’ withdrawal from the Syrian city of Aleppo in order to get more time for them, AFP reported on Tuesday.
When asked to comment on Lavrov’s statement concerning the U.S. refusal to participate in the Geneva talks, Kerry said: “I’m not aware of any specific refusal.”
As Russia announced the failure of what it called “the plan” of Kerry to solve the Aleppo crisis, the intensity of fighting in the city has increased on Tuesday.
Syrian government forces and allied militias captured Aleppo’s strategic al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels on Tuesday, according to several informed sources.
Opposition forces still refuse to withdraw from the Aleppo neighborhoods, relying on a possible military reinforcement provided from the countryside. The operation room of Fatah Halab militant group had promised “weighty surprises during the upcoming days.”
Yasser Abdelraheem, head of the operation room at Fatah Halab told Aleppo residents in a voice record broadcasted on YouTube Tuesday: “Few days and we will turn on them the table. We promise you weighty surprised that would tip the scales.”
On Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the gains made by Syrian forces in the neighborhood of al-Shaar.
Meanwhile, Member of the Syrian Coalition opposition Michel Kilo criticized Russia saying that Moscow was currently benefiting from the ongoing U.S. regression to use the policy of force in Aleppo. Kilo told Ahsarq Al-Awsat: “Unfortunately, Moscow has enough power to force rebels withdraw from their city, despite the courageous resistance shown by these groups.”