Russia vows to keep up support for Syria in defiance of US threat
Iran Press TV
Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:22PM
Russia has pledged to continue its air campaign in Syria, defying a recent threat by the United States to halt its diplomacy with Moscow on the violence-hit country in the wake of heavy fighting in Aleppo.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that the Russian air force would go on with its war on terror and continue to support the Syrian government forces.
Peskov's remarks came one day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry held a phone conversation on Syria.
During the talks, Kerry blamed Moscow for the escalation of fighting in Aleppo, according to a statement by US State Department spokesman John Kirby.
Kerry further underlined Washington's readiness to "suspend US-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria," including talks on a possible counter-extremist partnership, "unless Russia takes immediate steps" to halt its anti-terror campaign and restore a ceasefire in the war-torn state, the statement read.
Peskov, however, denounced the US statement as clumsy and unhelpful, stressing that Washington's inability to meet its obligations in Syria, camouflaged with its anti-Russia rhetoric, does not help the settlement of the conflict.
Since March 2011, Syria has been hit by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies.
Moscow and Washington support opposing sides in the conflict.
Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria at the Damascus government's request since last September.
The US and its allies have also been carrying out their own airstrikes against what they call Daesh positions in Syria and neighboring Iraq since 2014.
Additionally on Wednesday, Kirby warned that terrorists in Syria could launch attacks "against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities."
In response, Peskov assured that Russian intelligence services were on constant alert for possible terrorist attacks.
"All necessary measures are taken not in the event of some developments, but on a permanent basis," he said.
Elsewhere in his comments, the Russian official urged Washington to honor its commitment to separate terrorists operating in Syria from the so-called moderate opposition.
"Unfortunately, the US has not yet fulfilled its key task of these agreements, … which is the separation of the so-called moderate opposition" terrorist organizations, among them the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Peskov added.
The latest ceasefire in Syria, which had been mediated by Moscow and Washington, came to an end on September 19.
Damascus refused to extend the deal after US-led air raids on its military base near the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr killed 83 Syrian soldiers in violation of the agreement.
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