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Moscow welcomes Jaysh al-Islam group’s readiness to join talks with Damascus

January 18, 14:18 UTC+3

Sergey Lavrov comments on media reports saying that Mohammed Alloush, one of the group’s leaders, may head the Syrian armed opposition delegation at the Astana talks

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Jaysh al-Islam fighter

Jaysh al-Islam fighter

© EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes the Jaysh al-Islam group’s readiness to join talks with Syria’s government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday commenting on media reports saying that Mohammed Alloush, one of the group’s leaders, may head the Syrian armed opposition delegation at the Astana talks.

"As far as the participants list and the armed opposition delegation head go, I would like to emphasize once again that apart from the Syrian government, those armed opposition groups, that signed the December 29 agreements, have been invited to take part in the Astana talks," the Russian foreign minister stressed. "We have a list of them, and as I assume, they will form their delegation based on this list."

According to Lavrov, it is not obligatory that all groups send their members "but the delegation will represent all those who signed the December 29 agreements."

"Jaysh al-Islam participates in the agreements reached on December 29. Whatever attitude some countries may adopt towards this group, it has not been blacklisted by the UN Security Council as a terror group," Lavrov pointed out. "Along with other armed opposition groups, Jaysh al-Islam has also expressed readiness to sign the agreements on establishing a ceasefire and holding talks with the Syrian government, so we welcome this approach."

"Those not affiliated with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (terror groups outlawed in Russia) are eligible to join the December 29 agreements, and we urge them to do it," the Russian top diplomat concluded.

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