Russia not 'earnest' about Syria solution: opposition
Russia's proposal to back the United Nation's action plan for the Syrian crisis is not earnest, according to a coalition of Syrian opposition groups.
"Russia has sided with [president Bashar al-] Assad regime for over three years. I don't think they are in earnest about working towards a political solution in Syria," Kasim al-Hatiba, a member of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces told The Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Damascus and Moscow supported the UN action plan of establishing zones in the country in which fighting is temporarily halted.
The minister's remarks came at a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Muallem in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Russia said it backs UN Special Envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura's efforts.
"It is important to find the right conditions to reach a political solution in Syria, but it is the Syrian people who have the last word," Lavrov said.
The UN special envoy for Syria proposed last month the establishment of "freeze zones" in specific cities and provinces of Syria, where fighting would be halted for a time so that humanitarian relief efforts could go to work.
Al-Hatib said that although de Mistura attempted to establish a partial cease-fire with his plan, the Free Syrian Army, which is a part of the Syrian National Coalition, "does not trust Moscow or de Mistura's proposal", which he said served only Assad loyalists, Iran and Russia.
"Neither Moscow nor de Mistura has the key to a solution in Syria," said Ahmed Ivad, another member of the National Coalition.
Ivad said that the Syrian people have only "one legitimate representative", which is the National Coalition, which is "recognized by 80 countries."
"Therefore, if Moscow wants to find a political solution, it should contact the Coalition. Any other attempt would only prove that they are trying to divide the opposition," he said.