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Syrian foreign minister says US seeks to prolong conflict in Syria

October 30, 2018, 3:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Syrian government forces and their allies are "the only real force" fighting against terrorist organizations on the Syrian territory, Walid Muallem said

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 29. /TASS/. /TASS/. Under the pretext of protecting Kurds, the US is setting up military bases and aerodromes in Syria's east, which signals their intention to prolong the armed conflict, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told a press conference on Monday.

SANA news agency quoted Muallem as saying that the US is using its base in Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border to train former members of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia) in order to include them later into units fighting against the Syrian army.

The foreign minister noted that the government forces and their allies are "the only real force fighting against IS groups and Jebhat al-Nusra extremist group [outlawed in Russia] on the Syrian territory."

Muallem also said that terrorists from the Jebhat al-Nusra group (outlawed in Russia) still remain in the area where the Idlib demilitarized zone should have been established. "This is a signal that Ankara does not want to fulfill its obligations in the framework of Russian-Turkish agreements on Idlib," he said. The foreign minister noted that Idlib, located in 320 kilometers from Damscus, remains under the control of terrorists who are supported by Turkey and the West.

"We remain in close coordination with Russian friends regarding the situation in Syria's north-west," he added. Muallem also reminded that the agreement on Idlib is temporary, and the Syrian government has a legal right to return the province under its sovereignty.

According to the Russian-Turkish memorandum signed in Sochi on September 17 after talks between the presidents of Russia and Turkey, the demilitarized zone 15-20 kilometers deep in Idlib should have been established by October 15. However, Turkey asked to postpone joint patrolling in Idlib due to its inability to guarantee security from its side.

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