The Syrian government and its Russian allies are in full agreement that a state-led operation is the best way to prevent the next attack on its own citizens, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.
The Russian diplomat also said Russia was ready to supply the Syrian opposition with the weapons it needs to carry out such a mission.
“If the United States is unwilling to do that, then we will certainly provide them with the necessary weaponry and other resources,” Lavrov said at a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Lavrov said Moscow had agreed with Washington on the need to protect its citizens in Syria.
Syria has been embroiled in a brutal civil war since 2011 and has been battling both the government and rebels since March 2013.
Lavalv’s comments came after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Tuesday calling on Russia to provide the rebels with arms and support, a move Lavrov said was “a clear signal of our willingness to play a role in the fight against terrorism.”
Lavkov was responding to a statement by the Syrian Foreign Ministry, which said the resolution “proves that Russia and the Syrian regime have been working towards a political solution to the conflict.”
“The Russian side has already given the United Nation its complete support for a political resolution to the Syrian crisis, including a clear commitment to provide arms and logistical support to the legitimate Syrian opposition,” the statement read.
“The United Nations will not stop working towards this end.
The Russian side is ready to cooperate with the Syrian authorities on any possible measures to prevent terrorist attacks against Syria and its citizens,” it added.
Russia has been providing the Syrian government with sophisticated air defenses and anti-tank missiles in exchange for weapons and other support.
Laws banning the export of weapons to the opposition are widely viewed as an attempt to block the rebels from moving on to the international stage, a prospect that has unnerved the international community.
Russia, which has a military presence in Syria, has been reluctant to take sides in the conflict, with President Vladimir Putin accusing the West of backing armed groups opposed to him.
The United States and the European Union have been pushing for Russia to halt its arms sales to the rebels.