The opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad were extremely dissatisfied with the outcome of the visit to Damascus of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the director of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov. A number of Western media outlets expressed hope that they went to Syria to persuade Assad to resign.
However, although the main purpose of the meeting was declared neutral - "to find a political solution to the situation around Syria," - in fact, the visit showed open support for the official Damascus in an extremely difficult time and, most importantly, during a special operation carried out in Homs.
Of particular interest was the presence in Syria of Mikhail Fradkov. As stated in an interview with "Pravda.Ru" by a representative of the Committee of National Unity Ali Salim al-Assad of Syria, "Fradkov did not make any open claims during the visit, although was present at the events attended by Lavrov. However, he had a separate meeting with his counterpart, Chief of the foreign intelligence of Syria. According to unofficial information, he expressed a wish to dine in Homs as soon as possible.
From the viewpoint of Assad's opponents, it looks like the support of his struggle with the opposition. News agencies quoted the Syrian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar: "Interior Ministry confirmed that the operation for the prosecution of terrorist groups will continue until the security and order are restored in all parts of the city of Homs, as well as in the regions of the same province, and until we eliminate all the armed individuals who terrorize citizens and threaten their lives."
These are more than words. Eyewitnesses report ongoing shooting in Horns, including the use of artillery. Every day, according to human rights activists, 50 to 100 people are killed there. Meanwhile, the Syrian authorities deny the information on the use of artillery by government forces, pointing out that the militants set fire to tires and blow up bombs to simulate the "shelling."
However, as stated in an interview with "Pravda.Ru" by the aforementioned expert, Ali Salim al-Assad: "A special operation is indeed being conducted in Homs now, and the need for this is long overdue. First, the president was hoping for a dialogue with the opposition, and second, he did not want to let down his ally Russia that protects him in the Security Council. But now the situation has become so intolerable that we are talking about a banal survival mode. If we were to reach the elimination of militants entrenched in Homs, uncontrolled areas may also appear in other parts of the country.
As for the operation, the problem areas of Homs are divided in squares. The difficulty lies in the fact that it is the third largest city of Syria with more than one and a half million people, which makes fighting very difficult. In part, because it is the center of chemical industry of the country and a link connecting the most important gas and oil pipelines. In contrast with Hama that was easy to block due to special conditions of the area with relatively small forces, Homs is located in an open space that is difficult to control. To avoid a large damage and civilian casualties, the bet was made on holding a fine operation of the security forces that would cleans the areas captured by bandits house by house.
However, the Russian delegation discussed the prospects of a political settlement of the internal confrontation. What did it achieve? In fact, Assad reiterated his previous intentions to conduct the reforms, in particular, he confirmed the proposition of a referendum on the draft Constitution and implementation of the new parliamentary elections.
Russia, represented by Sergey Lavrov, endorsed these plans. Moreover, the Russian foreign minister pointed out to the external forces aimed at the overthrow of the current Syrian regime that the fate of Syria must be decided by the Syrian people, without outside interference, and repeated the earlier proposal to gather all sides at the negotiating table in Moscow.
"We support any initiative ... to ensure the conditions for the Syrians to engage in a dialogue and seek national reconciliation. This is what all responsible members of the international community must be doing now, in the Arab world, in Europe, the United States or elsewhere. The attempts to prejudge the outcome of the national dialogue in advance are not something the international community should be doing. There is a need to sit at the negotiating table for the government and all opposition forces," said Sergey Lavrov.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Syrian President Bashar Assad has expressed a desire to contribute to ending the violence and authorized the Vice-President to hold talks with all opposition groups in the national dialogue. Moreover, he is ready to return the Arab League observers who have ceased their mission on the orders of Qatar that deemed it impossible to continue because of a "sharp deterioration".
In this regard, Sergei Lavrov openly supported Bashar al-Assad, saying: "Every leader in every country should be aware of their responsibility. You are aware of yours".
Meanwhile, the radical opposition has rejected the first proposal of Moscow to enter into a dialogue with representatives of the Syrian regime. "Bashar Assad must go!" - this is the motivation of his opponents following the western secret services, Turkey and the Arab Gulf countries.
However, one of the main claims of the opposition to the Syrian President was his unwillingness to engage in a dialogue with the "Muslim Brotherhood", one of the most influential opposition forces. At least, he talked about it on November 24 during a meeting with a reporter of "Pravda.Ru", pointing out that Syria is a secular country and according to its laws extremist organizations that use religion for political purposes cannot be participants in the political process.
But perhaps, Bashar al-Assad has changed his plans? As stated in an interview with "Pravda.Ru" by a representative of the Committee of Syrian Unity, Ali Salim al-Assad, "this is not being discussed yet. In Syria, the continued existence of the 49th law according to which membership in a terrorist organization "Muslim Brotherhood", responsible for implementation of multiple terrorist attacks and deaths of thousands of people, is punishable by death. They, being the strike force, an instrument of conspiracy against Syria, do not want to dialogue, and negotiate through machine-guns. What can you say to such people? The president warned that the deadline of surrendering the arms was January 31, and after that the terrorists who kill innocent civilians and members of uniformed services will be ruthlessly destroyed, as is the case in any other country, including the United States."
The hopes for a peaceful Syrian dialogue are vanishing. The Western and other masters of the radical Syrian opposition are not interested in it. It is no accident that in recent days almost all countries of the West and the Arab Gulf states withdrew their ambassadors from Syria.
The U.S. and EU countries have criticized Russia for the visit. The U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland warned Moscow that Assad makes empty promises and that the world will be disappointed in the case of history repeating itself. Spokesman for the White House Jay Carney was more adamant:" The Russians must understand that betting everything on al-Assad is the path to failure, not only for Russia's interests in Syria, but also for stability in the region and the future of Syria."
While Nuland is pointing out that the U.S. allegedly does not intend to support terrorists in Syria with weapons, as proposed by Republican Senator John McCain, the U.S. and Israeli weapons continue to arrive to the opponents of Assad.
In addition, according to television channel CNN, the Pentagon is finalizing the existing plans to invade Syria, and the responsibility for its preparation lies with the Central Command of the U.S. armed forces. According to the source in the leadership of the United States, all possible options of delivery of humanitarian aid to military intervention are now being worked out."
Su-35 and Su-30 fighters were carrying out a scheduled training flight, when the incident occurred