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Hmeimim group: Armed groups supporting ceasefire must distance themselves from terrorists

April 26, 2016, 13:42 UTC+3 GENEVA

Over 50 armed groups in Syria have signed the document on cessation of hostilities in the center on reconciliation in Hmeimim near Latakia

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

GENEVA, April 26. /TASS/. The Syrian opposition’s Hmeimim group considers it reasonable to urge armed groups that have joined the ceasefire regime, to leave the positions occupied by terrorists and disassociate themselves from them, the leader of the group’s delegation to inter-Syrian talks Ilian Masaad told TASS on Tuesday.

"Yes, this is reasonable," Masaad said answering a question on how the "Hmeimim group" assesses recent statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. On Monday, Lavrov said that Syrian opposition should leave positions of terrorists and disassociate itself from them if it wants to participate in the political process. "We agreed long ago that groups that found themselves on the positions of terrorists but that are not terrorists and want to participate in the political process, should leave the territories of terrorist positions," Lavrov said. "They should disassociate and physically leave these positions," he added.

"Over 50 armed groups in Syria have signed the document on cessation of hostilities in the center on reconciliation in Hmeimim near Latakia, at a Russian air base," Masaad reminded. "Those who put their signatures there were people that stated their readiness to fight against Islamic State and Jebhat al-Nusra (terrorist organizations banned in Russia) after ceasefire is ensured," he added/

Answering a question on whether it is hard to identify groups that signed the ceasefire agreement but in reality are under the influence of terrorists, Masaad said: "In theory, it is hard, but from the practical point of view, on the ground, the warring parties should observe the ceasefire regime, disassociate themselves from IS and Jebhat al-Nusra and start fighting against them. This can be accomplished, and this is being done. I think that both Russians and Americans are working on this in Syria," he noted.

Lavrov said on Monday that "we are currently collecting information that Jebhat al-Nusra subjugates groups that seemed to have declared truce and readiness to join ceasefire" adding that "we will summarize facts and present them to UN Security Council to adjust terrorist lists.".

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