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Moscow notes truce violations in Syria by moderate opposition groups

July 14, 2016, 15:52 UTC+3

Several groups of the moderate armed opposition are acting synchronously with terrorist groups, said Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

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© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. Several groups of "moderate" opposition in Syria is working together with terrorists, and Russia cannot ignore this, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

Despite the ceasefire declared by Syrian government forces for 72 hours, "armed groups led and controlled by militants from Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist organization banned in Russia) and militants from other illegal groups, continued their attempts to oust the Syrian army from its current positions," Zakharova said. "Moreover, several groups of the moderate armed opposition are acting synchronously with terrorist groups. We cannot but mention this," she added.

"In order to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism in Syria, it is necessary to differentiate clearly between armed opponents of the current authorities who reject terrorist methods and terrorists, including from Jabhat al-Nusra," she stressed.

The spokeswoman stressed that the inclusion of non-inclusion of the Syrian opposition groups Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham in the list of terrorist organizations was the prerogative of the UN Security Council, and did not depend on the opinion of the United States or other countries.

"With all due respect to the American side, we should not agree or disagree with the opinion of the US administration officials. We should act in the international legal field," Zakharova said.

According to her, the UN Security Council deals with recognition of groups as terrorist. "Consequently, the groups that have been recognized terrorist by the UN Security Council are indeed terrorist groups," she said.

However, Zakharova added that groups can be recognized as terrorist under the internal laws of separate countries. "We do not depend on the opinion of one or another politician, his assessment or change in his assessment of the reality. We’ll proceed from this," she said.

John Kerry has recently called two subgroups of the Syrian opposition - Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist organizations. Based on this, The Washington Post made the conclusion that the American and Russian positions have become closer on this issue. "There are a couple of subgroups underneath the two designated - Daesh (Islamic State) and Jabhat al-Nusra - Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham particularly - who brush off and fight with that - alongside these other two sometimes to fight the Assad regime," Kerry said, referring to two rebel groups that the United States has not named as terrorist groups until now.

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