Russia May Use Force Against Syria Truce Violators

Sergei Rudskoi, the head of the Main Operative Department of the Russian General Staff

Russia warns the U.S. that it may resort to the use of force against those parties that refuse to honor the ceasefire in Syria.

In a statement on March 21, Sergei Rudskoi, the head of the Main Operative Department of the Russian General Staff, said Moscow will begin unilaterally applying the provisions envisaged by the ceasefire agreement from March 21 if there is no reaction from the U.S. to Russia’s proposals on ceasefire monitoring.

“Russia says it is ready to promptly complete the work on the proposed document, including to meet with a U.S. delegation in Moscow or have a meeting in any place acceptable to the parties. If there is no reaction from the U.S. to these proposals, the Russian Federation will begin to unilaterally apply the rules envisaged by the agreement from March 22,” Rudskoi said.

Russia set up a center at the Hmeimim airbase in Syria’s western Latakia Province last month to monitor the ceasefire. It has been providing almost daily reports of the violation of the ceasefire in Syria after it came into force on February 27.

The ceasefire was brokered between the Syrian government and dozens of militant groups on the ground. Takfiri Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorist groups are excluded from the ceasefire.

“We reiterate that military force will be used only after reliable evidence of systematic violations by military units of the obligations assumed under the joint Russian-U.S. statement on ceasefire in Syria of February 22, 2016 is received. Military force will not be used against units that observe the ceasefire regime and against civilians and civilian facilities,” Rudskoi said.

He further said, “The American side was not ready for this particular discussion and for the approval of the agreement.”

Washingtonian has not yet reacted to the comments.

The foreign-backed militancy, which began in March, 2011, in Syria, has resulted in the death of over 470,000, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

Russia launched an air campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria last September, upon a request from the Damascus government.

On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the bulk of Syria-based Russian military forces to withdraw from the country. The pullout process started the next day.

Putin’s order came hours after the resumption of peace talks over the crisis in the country.