Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the future of Syria and its president lies in the hands of the Syrian people, not the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“The US Secretary of State is not a citizen of Syria and has no right to talk about its future and the fate of its president. This shall only be decided by the Syrian people”, Putin was heard saying during a press conference of the G20 summit in Hamburg.
He stressed that the US stance towards Syria has not drastically changed, although it has become more pragmatic, adding that the United States also played a certain role in decline of violence in the country.
He then spoke about a positive understanding on the issue of reaching a ceasefire agreement in the southwest of Syria and invited his Jordanian and Israeli partners to cooperate, pointing out that Syrian territorial integrity has to be preserved at all costs.
He also revealed that Russia maintains contacts with several Kurdish factions in Syria, despite not having that close relations with these factions as US does, noting that Russia stands on preserving Syria’s unity and territorial integrity, which makes its position on the Kurdish a bit different than that of the US.
On the issue of settlement of the Syrian crisis, Putin said Russia will continue with its policy of restoring peace and stability to the country and will keep cooperating with its Syrian, Iranian and Turkish partners, noting that the Syrian issue has been thoroughly discussed with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the summit.