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No progress at UN SC on extending list of terrorist groups — Russian mission

"No progress has been reached so far," spokesman for Russia’s permanent mission to the United Nations Alexei Zaitsev said
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UNITED NATIONS, May 12. /TASS/. No progress has been reached at the United Nation Security Council discussion of Russia’s initiative to put Syria’s Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar ash-Sham groups on the sanction list, a spokesman for Russia’s permanent mission to the United Nations told TASS on Wednesday commenting on media reports that the Russian initiative was blocked by Great Britain, Ukraine, the United States and France.

"No progress has been reached so far," Alexei Zaitsev said, refraining from further comment.

Another diplomat, who is in the know of the United Nations Security Council’s discussion of the Russian initiative, confirmed that Russia’s request was blocked. "So far, it is difficult to say whether more discussions might follow," he said.

A representative of a Western member country of the Security Council told TASS Russia’s request was blocked on May 10. "As far as I understand, Russia demonstrated to intention to continue discussions after four countries had spoken against it," he noted.

Jaysh al-Islam (meaning Army of Islam), formerly known as Liwa al-Islam, was formed in 2012 after splitting from the Free Syrian Army enjoying support from Western countries. The group is part of the Hugh Negotiations Committee (HNC) that was formed in Riyadh in December 2015 and is taking part in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

According to France Presse, Ahrar ash-Sham is supported by Turkey and a number of the Gulf countries, such as Qatar. The group also took part in the latest round of talks.

Russia filed a request with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council to put Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam on the sanction list of terrorist groups on April 26. Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said the reason for this step was numerous reports that these groups active in Syria have close links with such terrorist organizations as Islamic State and Al Qaeda, offer them and receive from them financial, logistics and military support. When put on the list of terrorist organization along with Islamic State and Al Qaeda, these groups will stop to be covered by the ceasefire regime in Syria and it will be possible to deliver strikes against them.

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