Refugees are being cynically used as a leverage by Russia-backed Syrian regime in peace negotiations, says Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius. A terrorist attack in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday will only make the situation in the Middle East more tense, he added.
Syrian government is fighting opposition forces in Aleppo
© Sipa Press/Scanpix

"What the Syrian army, backed by Russia, is doing - negotiating a peace settlement, quite cynically, at the same time as it is bombing civilian people - is pushing the country into an ever deeper humanitarian catastrophe," Linkevičius told Žinių Radijas.

"At the beginning of the attack, there were some 60,000 refugees moving towards Turkey. The number could reach half a million, if Aleppo, one of the strongholds of the Syrian opposition, fell.

"Aleppo will be a litmus test that will show how this will all end. Immense diplomatic efforts have been fruitless, because, for instance, Russia continues with its plan, using these diplomatic efforts as a smokescreen. Refugees are made into victims of manipulation and also a weapon at the hands of the aggressor, exacerbating the situation and raising tensions," Linkevičius said.

He added that he saw little chance that the Munich ceasefire plan for Syria would be implemented.

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