Syria says belief in victory in war against terrorism ‘even greater’

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem accused the US of being complicit with ISIS

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Syria said on Saturday its belief in victory was “even greater” now that the Syrian army was progressing in the “war against terrorism.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem was speaking at the annual UN gathering of world leaders, after the Syrian army and allied militia seized ground north of Aleppo on Saturday, tightening a siege of the city’s rebel-held east.

Moualem accused the United States and its allies of being “complicit” with ISIS militants and other “terrorist armed organizations.”

“Our belief in victory is even greater now that the Syrian Arab Army is making great strides in its war against terrorism, with the support of the true friends of the Syrian people, notably the Russian Federation, Iran, and the Lebanese national resistance,” Moualem said.

Moualem blamed Syria’s foes, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for fomenting the crisis by supporting rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government considers the insurgents “terrorists.”

Moualem rejected accusations the Syrian government was starving its population and placing it under siege.

“Some countries continue to shed crocodile tears over the situation of Syrians in some areas, accusing the Syrian government of employing a policy of sieges and starvation,” he said.

“All the while these same countries continue to support and arm the terrorists that besiege civilians in these areas from the inside and use them as human shields and prevent delivery of humanitarian aid or confiscate it,” Moualem said.

The United Nations, backed by the United States, Britain and other powers, has urged the Syrian government to end all sieges.

Moscow and Washington agreed on Sept. 9 a deal aimed at putting Syria’s peace process back on track. It included a nationwide truce to improve humanitarian aid access and the possibility of joint military operations against ISIS militants and al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

The truce effectively collapsed after a week when an aid convoy was bombed on Monday, killing some 20 people. Moualem said his government was committed to moving forward with the UN-led peace process.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to revive the ceasefire deal while at the United Nations this week.

Kerry said on Friday he made “a little progress” in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The pair are exchanging proposals, diplomats said.

The issues at the heart of the current talks is a US demand for Russia and Syria to ground their warplanes for seven days to allow aid to get to besieged communities and for opposition groups to separate from Nusra, diplomats said.

“What is happening in Aleppo today is unacceptable. It’s beyond the pale,” Kerry said in Boston on Saturday.

“If people are serious about wanting a peaceful outcome to this war then they should cease and desist bombing innocent
women and children, cease cutting off water and laying siege in medieval terms to an entire community,” he said.

Kerry spoke before meeting with his counterparts from the European Union, Britain, France, Germany and Italy on Saturday.