Escalating violence in Syria. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Stations Organization, has once again called for the clashes “to end immediately”, declaring that “the lack of agreement in the [UN] Security Council gives no license to the Syrian authorities to step up attacks on the population”. Activist sources claim that yesterday almost 100 civilians were killed, the majority from the city of Homs area. There have also been further clashes in the north-western Province of Idlib and in various cities, including Aleppo. The authorities of Damascus have denied this.
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, is expected today in Syria for talks with the Damascus authorities, while according to the news broadcast by the BBC there has been a resurgence of unrest in Homs. Lavrov's office informed the public that the minister has been sent to Damascus because Moscow is working to “achieve a rapid stabilization of the situation in Syria”. In the Syrian capital, Lavrov will meet with President Bashar Al Assad. According to news published by the Russian press agency Interfax in the past few days, the head of Russian diplomacy has been accompanied to Damascus by Mikhail Fradkov, in charge of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Office. Yesterday Lavrov described as verging on the hysterical the international community's reaction after the decision of Russia and China to veto the UN Security Council's resolution on Syria.
In the meantime, the United States have closed their embassy in Damascus and recalled their diplomats from Syria. Great Britain too, through William Hague, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has announced that it has recalled its ambassador in Syria “for consultation”. Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, stressed that the invitation to expel Syrian ambassadors and recall the diplomatic representatives in Damascus is “the object of consultation among European countries at this time”.
St. Peter’s Square
June 17, 2019
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