Russia proposes 'humanitarian aid' for Syria

Iran wants more cooperation with Russia under the auspices of the Astana framework.

A PICTURE of Syria’s President Bashar Assad hangs outside the parliament building in Damascus in April. (photo credit: YAMAM AL SHAAR/REUTERS)
A PICTURE of Syria’s President Bashar Assad hangs outside the parliament building in Damascus in April.
(photo credit: YAMAM AL SHAAR/REUTERS)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's Special Presidential Envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Vershinin, have spoken about humanitarian aid for Syria in a meeting, Russia’s Tass state media said. Syria wants Russia and its friends to mobilize “comprehensive humanitarian assistance,” the report said. 

"[The sides] discussed in detail the current situation in and around Syria focusing on mobilizing comprehensive humanitarian aid to those in need without discrimination and politicization in line with the norms of the international humanitarian law," the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.

"In this regard, [the meeting] confirmed the importance to maintain the stability and implement practical steps to restore the sovereignty and control of Damascus over the national territory as stipulated by the resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly,” Tass report.  

Syria is hosting Lavrentyev and Vershinin as well as Russian Defense Ministry officials. Despite claims that Russia and Iran do not share interests in Syria, it appears Iran sought to meet the Russian officials. “Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian hailed the successful experience of cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism in Syria as a suitable model for economic collaboration in the process of reconstruction of the Arab country,” Tasnim News said in Iran.

“Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin and Russian President's Special Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev traveled to Tehran after a visit to Damascus and held a meeting with the Iranian top diplomat on Sunday,” the Iranians claimed. 

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin prepares to speak at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Wednesday. (credit: SERGEY ILYIN/SPUTNIK/VIA REUTERS)RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin prepares to speak at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Wednesday. (credit: SERGEY ILYIN/SPUTNIK/VIA REUTERS)

Iran says that Amirabdollahian “lauded the cooperation between Tehran and Moscow in Syria as a very successful experience that was in conformity with the request and will of the Syrian government.”  

Iran wants more cooperation with Russia under the auspices of the Astana framework. “For their part, the Russian diplomats emphasized the importance of talks and the exchange of delegations with Iran over various bilateral and regional issues and the affairs relating to Syria,” the Iranian report said.

“In a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart last week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stressed the need for mutual cooperation in the region, adding, ‘We believe that the continued presence of outsiders in Syria is illegal and runs counter to the will of the Syrian nation and government because it threatens stability and security of that country.’” Clearly the issue at hand is that Syria is extremely weak economically. Across the region Syria is accused of exporting captagon, a type of drug. Reports paint Syria as a “narco-state.”  

Meanwhile, other reports have said that the Assad regime has tensions with Iran’s IRGC. The perception is that Russia wants to weaken Iran’s influence as well. Iran disagrees and says that it is working closely with Russia. Also, Russia wants to find a way to bring more investment to Syria.