Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to critics of a US-Russia initiative for a peace conference on Syria on Wednesday warning that bringing down the Al Assad regime militarily posed a “huge threat” to the region.
“Open objections  have surfaced against holding this Russia-US meeting [dubbed Geneva II] , not only among Syrian sides but also among capitals, both in neighboring and non-neighboring states,” Lavrov said during a visit to Athens.
“We must not allow this initiative to fizzle out,” he added, arguing that the taking down President Assad’s regime through military means would cause an “extremist” state and pose a “huge threat to those living in Syria and the area”.
Damascus has branded the uprising-turned-rebellion as a foreign-backed plot since the start of the conflict in March 2011.
Moscow and the US have worked to win support for peace talks in Geneva from the warring sides in Syria, where more than 115,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict.
In the latest update on peace efforts, almost 20 Islamist groups fighting to bring down Assad’s regime issued a statement Sunday saying the Geneva conference “is not, nor will it ever be our people’s choice or our revolution’s demand ”.