Russia said it is ready to persuade the Syrian government to allow Al-Nusra Front militants to exit Aleppo with their weapons, as proposed by the UN envoy to Syria.
On Thursday the UN special envoy to Syria offered to escort the Al-Qaeda offshoot out of Aleppo in order to stop the bombing.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday: “I heard his statement concerning only Nusra. For God’s sake, if al-Nusra leaves with weapons toward Idlib, where its main forces are based, we are ready to support this approach for the sake of Aleppo and will be ready to urge the Syrian government to agree”
Once the jihadists exit the war-ravaged city, Syrian government troops and the opposition will be able to form joint law-and-order bodies, Russia’s top diplomat said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
“In the first place, those who don’t leave with ‘Nusra’ should clearly separate themselves [from it], on paper, officially sign such a commitment,” Lavrov said.
“Maybe then the government law enforcers and this armed opposition will be able to form some kind of joint law-and-order bodies to ensure normal life, so that people would feel safe,” he continued.
On Thursday, the UN’s envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, warned that East Aleppo might be destroyed within two months if the military action in the city continues. He also urged Al-Nusra to leave the city, saying that he is willing to personally escort them out.
“If you [Al-Nusra] did decide to leave, in dignity with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready, physically ready, to accompany you,” he said.
Lavrov noted that according to the UN estimations there are between six and eight thousand militants in Aleppo.
“Among them up to half, that what Mistura said in the UN Security Council [are from] ‘Jabhat Al-Nusra,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.
If Al-Nusra exits Aleppo and moves to Idlib, where its major forces are located, Russia “will be ready to call on the Syrian Government to agree with that,” Lavrov added.