×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Hezbollah Accused of Undermining Syria Peace Effort

Demonstrators remembering civil war victims in Syria in Berlin, Germany on Saturday. The theme was “Ignorance supports mass murder in Syria.” Joerg Carstensen

Foreign ministers from Gulf Arab states at their meeting Sunday condemned the interference of the Lebanese Shia militia group Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict and accused it of undermining the efforts to settle the conflict peacefully.

"This interference will prevent the efforts of holding the Geneva 2 conference [on settling the Syria conflict]," the foreign ministers said in a statement adopted after their meeting in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

The foreign ministers from the Gulf Arab states urged the Lebanese government to stick to "the policy of non-interference in the Syrian conflict." The foreign ministers also supported a recent decision by Western and Arab nations in the Friends of Syria group to increase military aid to Syrian rebels to "restore the balance of power" ahead of the Geneva international conference on Syria.

Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier admitted that the militia group was taking part in the Syria armed conflict.

Hezbollah and Iran are believed to be the main allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad while some Persian Gulf countries openly support the Syrian opposition, including rebels fighting against the government troops.

On Friday, Lavrov said Russia's embassy in Damascus as well as its naval base in the port of Tartus were continuing to perform regular operations, though "in very stressful and unsafe conditions."

He dispelled rumors that the facilities were to be shuttered due to the ongoing Syrian civil war, denouncing such reports as "speculation and provocation."

Regarding the naval base, which for Russia is the last remaining military foothold beyond the former Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "there are no plans to evacuate this facility, as well as its staff."

In February, the minister said the base, used for the maintenance and resupplying of Russian warships in the Mediterranean, had a staff of "several dozen." Only civilians currently work at the facility, Russia's Defense Ministry said Thursday.

In May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry proposed holding a second international conference on Syria. The planned gathering has been dubbed "Geneva 2" because the first such conference on Syria was held in Geneva last summer.

More than 90,000 people have died since fighting broke out between Syrian government forces and rebel groups in March 2011, according to the latest UN figures.

Related articles:

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more