Britain’s Johnson out of touch with reality: Syria



Syria says the UK is detached from realities after the British foreign minister backed a proposal by President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents calling on him to step down. 

“Statements of British FM Boris Johnson reveal his complete separation from reality and his lack of realization that the time of the (British colonial) mandate will not come back,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Johnson said a political transition plan presented in London by the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that requires Assad to step down could help stalled peace talks to restart.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Johnson’s statements demonstrate London’s part in “aggression” against Syria and shows he does not understand the situation in the Arab country.

The Syrian army has put foreign-backed militants under siege in Aleppo and now hopes to capture the whole city in what would be a devastating blow to the country’s enemies.

On Wednesday, Syrian army forces drove militants out of several villages north of Hama and killed dozens of them. The Syrian army recently regained control of three strategic military academies in Aleppo and successfully cut supply routes used mainly by militants.

In this picture released on June 26, 2016, President Bashar Assad (second R) speaks with Syrian troops during his visit to the frontline in the Damascus suburb of Marj al-Sultan. ©AP

The High Negotiations Committee, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and Western powers, presented its “road map” at a meeting in London attended by foreign ministers from Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE.

The group’s general coordinator Riyad Hijab said the HNC would reject any deal struck by Russia and the US on Syria’s fate that was different from its own proposed plan.

Foreign-backed militant groups abandoned the last UN-brokered talks in the Swiss city of Geneva in April after declaring a new war against the Syrian government.

The US and Russia have sought for weeks to secure a ceasefire. On Thursday, the Kremlin said the two sides have not yet finalized work on a mutually-acceptable document on resolving the crisis.

The two countries are still divided over the future of Assad. Washington insists that Assad must step down before any peace process can yield results, but Russia opposes the idea, arguing that the Syrian president is defending his country against terrorists.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Back in 2014, the UN said it would no more update its official death toll for Syria because it could not verify the figures that it received from various sources.

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