MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. Russia has next to no doubts weapons and munitions the United States supply to Syria’s ‘moderate opposition’ ultimately reach terrorists, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
"Frankly speaking, we have next to no doubts that at least the bulk of these weapons fall into the hands of terrorists," Lavrov said in an interview with the NTV television channel. "This fact causes concern in the United States as well, where people, the Congress begin to ask questions about previous attempts to support ‘moderate opposition.’"
Earlier on Tuesday, Pentagon said US transport planes had dropped in Syria the first batch of munitions for the opposition fighting against the terrorist group Islamic State.
The Islamic State is an Islamic terrorist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it was known under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and operated mainly in Iraq and Syria. In June 2014, the Islamic State announced the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" (a state with a Sharia form of government) on the territories it had seized and reduced its name to the Islamic State.
According to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, the extremist group numbers around 30,000 people. The Iraqi authorities say however it has up to 200,000 gunmen. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, US, Canada, Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Islamic State militants reportedly control up to 40% of the Iraq’s territory and about 50% of the Syrian territory.
According to the minister, Russia has received no information from the West about Syria’s moderate opposition.
"No one has provided coordinates of the ‘moderate opposition’ to us. They used to tell about the Free Syrian Army, but it is still a ghostly organization," he said. "Now they are saying about the Democratic Forces of Syria alliance. We have taken a closer look at it to see that it has groups that previously collaborated with terrorists."
He said Russia has questions to the United States concerning its new programme of support to Syria’s moderate opposition, which provides for dropping munitions and equipment. "Yesterday, the United States announced it had changed its concept of support to the opposition in Syria and would drop munitions instead of training personnel," he said. "But where these munitions will go? Could it be that these might follow the Jeeps that finally reached the Islamic State?".
According to the diplomat, the Unites States keeps on evading contacts with Russia on coordination of anti-terrorist efforts.
"Subordinates of the US president are still refraining from it [coordination of anti-terrorist efforts. At least, they are seeking to evade such coordination in contacts with us," he said.
"We are ready to open communication channels with the UN humanitarian agencies in Syria to take into account their activities in practice," he said." We need to coordinate our steps."
Lavrov added that Moscow, since the very beginning of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ strikes in Syria, offered the United States and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition to come to an agreement on the targets of the military operation and the areas that should not be affected by it. "So far, we have received no answer," the Russian foreign minister said.
Sergey Lavrov has said that the US-led coalition is fighting against terrorism in Syria indecisively. One can assume that its real aim is to weaken the government forces, Lavrov noted.
"If they are fighting against terrorism so indecisively, then maybe they want to use extremist units to reach a political aim of weakening the government forces, as they already did before? There is no answer to this question," the foreign minister noted.
"If [the United States] think that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is a ‘tyrant’, as they say, ‘has blood on his hands’ and ‘it is impossible to sit down at negotiations table with him’, let’s recall how the Americans are still working with the Taliban," he added.
In September 2014, the international coalition led by the United States started delivering airstrikes at the positions of Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in Syria without the permission received from Damascus or UN Security Council resolution.