Russia warns Assad on his refusal to participate in the peace process for Syria

Published February 19th, 2016 - 10:21 GMT
Assad vowed to retake all of Syria. (AFP/File)
Assad vowed to retake all of Syria. (AFP/File)

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian envoy to the UN, issued a warning to long-term ally President Bashar al-Assad if he did not comply with Moscow over the peace process. The warning comes after Assad's vow to retake all of Syria, saying he faced dire consequences

"Russia has invested very seriously in this crisis, politically, diplomatically and now also militarily," Churkin told Kommersant newspaper, in reference to an international agreement to cease hostilities made in Munich last week.

He added that the stance of the leader of the Syrian regime "is not in accord with the diplomatic efforts that Russia is making."

In an interview with AFP, Assad defiantly vowed to recapture the whole of Syria, speaking before the plan for a nationwide "cessation of hostilities" in Syria was announced.

The outcome of the meeting in Munich was the agreement of the 17-nation group backing Syria's peace process to work towards a ceasefire, lift the starvation sieges and resume talks.

If Syria "follows Russia's leadership in resolving this crisis, then they have a chance to come out of it in a dignified way," Churkin said.

"If they in some way stray from this path -- and this is my personal opinion -- a very difficult situation could arise. Including for themselves," he warned.

"If they proceed on the basis that no ceasefire is necessary and they need to fight to a victorious end, then this conflict will last a very long time and that is terrifying to imagine."

Churkin said of the Munich agreement that "Damascus, as I hope, understands this is a unique chance for Syria after five years of unremitting destruction."

Russia dropped air strikes on Syria in September last year in support of the Assad regime saying it was targeting Daesh and other extremists.

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