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lavrovRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday Moscow considered the shelling of its embassy in Damascus as a terrorist act, RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.

“This is an obvious act of terrorism, probably aimed at intimidating supporters of the fight against terrorism,” Lavrov was quoted as saying ahead of talks with the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday, .

Lavrov also said Russia was supporting De Mistura’s efforts to ensure a political settlement to the Syria crisis and was disappointed by U.S. reluctance to coordinate the efforts of all sides involved in fighting terrorism in Syria, RIA reported.

Two shells were fired at the Russian embassy in Damascus on Tuesday during a demonstration in support of Moscow although there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to the building.

Opposition fighters in the suburbs of the capital have targeted the embassy in the past but it was not clear if Tuesday’s attack targeted the rally.

In this Oct. 12, 2011 file photo, supporters of the Syrian government hold a pro-Russian banner as they show their support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and to thank Russia and China for blocking a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown, during a demonstration in Damascus, Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin is winning plaudits from many Syrians and Iraqis, who see Russia's military intervention in Syria as a turning point after more than a year of largely ineffectual efforts by the U.S.–led coalition battling the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman, File)
In this Oct. 12, 2011 file photo, supporters of the Syrian government hold a pro-Russian banner as they show their support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and to thank Russia and China for blocking a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown, during a demonstration in Damascus, Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin is winning plaudits from many Syrians and Iraqis, who see Russia’s military intervention in Syria as a turning point after more than a year of largely ineffectual efforts by the U.S.–led coalition battling the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman, File)
Before the shelling, the demonstrators had gathered outside the embassy carrying posters of the Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, and waved the two countries’ flags.

Some held placards that read: “Thanks Russia” and “Syria and Russia are together to fight terrorism.”

“President Putin’s stances were absolutely positive for Syria,” said 39-year-old civil servant Nizar Maqssoud.

Student Osama Salal, 18, said: “All the West stood against us. Only Russia backed us . we are all here to thank Russia and President Putin.”

Russia began launching airstrikes against insurgents in Syria on Sept. 30.

Russia insists it is mainly targeting the Islamic State group and other “terrorists,” but the multi-pronged ground-and-air offensive is being waged in areas controlled by U.S.-backed rebels as well as other insurgents including Nusra Front.

Earlier Tuesday, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate released an audio message purportedly from its leader, describing Russian military intervention as a new “Crusader campaign” aiming to save Assad’s rule.

The Nusra Front leader known as Abu Muhammed al-Golani called on Syrian militant and rebel groups to unite and intensify shelling of villages inhabited by members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

Al-Golani also called on Muslims in the former Soviet Union to attack Russian civilians if Russians target civilians in Syria.

“The Russian intervention came to declare a new eastern Crusader war after the western Crusader war failed in Syria,” al-Golani said, in an apparent reference to airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition that began last year. Al-Golani added that the Russians are not targeting the Islamic State group as they claim but are striking at militants who are fighting the government.

The jihadi leader promised to pay 3 million euros ($3.42 million) to whomever kills Assad and 2 million euros ($2.28 million) to whomever kills Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, whose men are fighting along with Assad’s forces.

REUTERS/ ASSOCIATED PRESS

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