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Envoy: IS Palmyra offensive raises issue of possible coordination between terrorists, US

December 15, 2016, 15:15 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

A Russian diplomat says "I have no specific evidence of interaction between the US-led Western coalition and IS, but all the pieces of the puzzle fit together well"

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

BRUSSELS, December 15. /TASS/. The analysis of the offensive against Palmyra by the Islamic State (IS, terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) makes one think of coordination of actions between the militants and the US, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told TASS commenting on remarks by European politicians on the situation in Syria.

"I have no specific evidence of interaction between the US-led Western coalition and IS, but all the pieces of the puzzle fit together well, both the termination of their bombing raids around Raqqa and the militants’ withdrawal from Mosul," he noted.

"We said for several weeks that that no one is allowed to leave Mosul (besieged by Iraqi troops supported by the US), that there are humanitarian corridors in Aleppo, while there are no such corridors in Mosul. All of a sudden, people started to flee the city en masse. There are not so many options as to where they could head to - to neighboring Syria, where the IS still holds a sufficient amount of territory," Chizhov stressed.

"With regard to the Raqqa area, we had an agreement with the Americans to avoid any misunderstanding that they carry out bombing raids there, but then it suddenly turned out that they have taken a pause for maintenance work, "he pointed out. "As for coordination of activities, it could be indirect as well. The fact is that media reports openly write about the coalition’s plans, and IS members read them and take that into account in planning their military strategy."

Chizhov also commented on a recent statement by French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who actually accused Russia of surrendering Palmyra to the Islamic State, because it focused on recapturing Aleppo. It is noteworthy that this statement "was made by the top diplomat of a country, which has been a member of the US-led coalition to fight the IS for more than four years now," he noted.

"After analyzing statements emanating from Paris recently, I am not surprised by these particular remarks. The only thing that surprises me is, perhaps, its hostile rhetoric. Speaking about double standards in this particular case would mean underestimating the importance of these developments. The current brouhaha on the part of both Paris and the European Union in general is related not so much to the approaching Christmas and the New Year holidays as it is to January 20, the day of the new US president’s inauguration," Chizhov emphasized.

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