Russia’s foreign minister on Monday warned the United States against “playing with fire” in Syria.
Sergey Lavrov cautioned US officials to reduce provocations, saying the United States’ actions there have fractured the country.
Addressing a conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Moscow policy advisory group, Lavrov said Syria’s sovereignty and territorial rights are under attack by US troops and funds that arm opposition groups.
“It seems that our American counterparts’ pledges that their sole goal in Syria is the war on [the Islamic State] and preserving the territorial integrity need to be confirmed with specific actions,” Lavrov said.
“I once again call on our American colleagues not to play with fire and measure their steps proceeding not from immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from long-term interests of the Syrian people.”
Lavrov accused the United States of using the Kurdish Democratic Union political party to divide Syria -- particularly in Afrin, a Syrian zone of US influence in which Turkish troops are fighting. The Syrian Arab News Agency, said Monday that opposition forces will soon arrive in the area to combat a month-long Turkish offensive in the area.
“[The United States] involved the units of the Kurdish Democratic Union party in their position to undermine Syria’s territorial integrity, in fact, which led to an escalation of tensions with Turkey,” Lavrov said, adding that the United States should stop “playing very dangerous games, which will lead to the disintegration of the Syrian state.”
Russian contractor deaths
Lavrov told Russian agencies that hundreds of Russian security contractors have been killed in recent weeks in Syria. Informed sources told Reuters last week that 300 contactors working for a Russian security firm tied to the Kremlin were injured or killed.