In an interview with the telecommunications company of the President Kazakhstan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Special Forces units from the United States, Britain, France and other countries are operating on Syrian territory.
“There are Special Forces on the ground in Syria from the US – they no longer deny it – the UK, France and a number of other countries. Thus, it’s not so much of a ‘proxy war,’ but rather a direct involvement in the war," the Minister said.
According to Lavrov, Russia condemns the “illegitimate” presence of armed forces on Syrian territory. "The American coalition, from the standpoint of international law and the UN Charter, is illegitimate. But we are realistic and understand that we wouldn’t fight with them. Thus, we coordinate actions at least to prevent unintended clashes. Our military always keeps in touch with the American commanders who lead the operation on Syrian territory. "
The Minister noted that the Russian Federation has established a regular dialogue with US General Staff, liaison officers and "those who actually lead operations on the ground."
Lavrov stressed that attacks by American-controlled forces on Syrian or pro-Syrian forces deserve condemnation, "as Russia has been repeatedly and solemnly assured that the aim of the Americans and their coalition is exclusively to fight terrorists."
At the same time, Lavrov called statements about US readiness to strike Damascus, Russian representatives located there notwithstanding, “irresponsible”.
"There were attacks against the Syrian government forces, as well as a strike a year ago at the Shayrat airbase, under the absolutely unjustified- and still unjustified - pretext that there were chemical weapons there," Lavrov said. "I do not know who authorized US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley to say that the United States will be ready to bomb Damascus and even the presidential palace of Bashar Assad, regardless [of the] presence of the Russian representatives there. "
"This is an absolutely irresponsible statement, [in response] to which we gave a very harsh opinion to the Americans in Washington and in Moscow through military and diplomatic channels," Lavrov stressed.