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Moscow worried by Islamists taking control of arms depots in northern Syria

December 12, 2013, 21:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
More than ten arms depots belonging to the so-called Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army in different parts of the country have been attacked and seized by Islamic Front fighters
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MOSCOW, December 12, 21:17 /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow is worried by the developments in northern Syria where Islamists have seized arms and amnmunition depots, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, December 12.

More than ten arms depots belonging to the so-called Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army in different parts of the country, mainly in the north, have been attacked and seized by Islamic Front fighters. They have also seized the headquarters of the Supreme Military Council in Atma. The Council’s head, Brigadier General Idris has left Syria.

“On November 22, the Islamic Front leadership declared a complete breakup from the Supreme Military Council and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces that stands behind it, and urged the rebels to fight for building an Islamic Sharia-based state in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said. “In this situation, the United States and Great Britain whose representatives had earlier contacted Islamic Front officials made the decision to stop nonlethal military aid to the opposition in the north of Syria (the aid, provided officially, included supplies of armoured vehicles, night vision devices, modern communications systems).”

“These developments cannot but raise concerns, including as part of preparations for the international conference on Syria in Geneva. As is known, the Islamic Front has thus far rejected any talks with the Syrian government,” the ministry said.

It said Moscow intended to adhere to a peaceful settlement in Syria and urges its partners to follow suit.

“We will continue to act in accordance with our position of principle in support of peaceful settlement in Syria through Geneva II to be convened on January 22, 2014 and a broad inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012. We remain committed to all adopted international decisions and agreements on this matter, including the relevant provisions of the Final Document of the G8 leaders in Lough Erne,” the ministry said.

The ministry hopes that “all of our international and regional partners will act likewise.”

The goal of Geneva II would be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva Communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012.

The communique lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 2011 when opposition protesters first sought the ouster of the Assad Government, and a further 6.5 million people have been displaced, the U.N. said.

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