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Syria’s opposition seeking to shift responsibility for breaking truce

May 23, 21:55 UTC+3
Opposition groups in Syria, including those controlled by the US, are seeking to shift responsibility for the breakdown of the ceasefire regime onto government forces — Russia's reconciliation center
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HMEIMIM /Syria/, May 23. /TASS/. Opposition groups in Syria, including those controlled by the United States, are seeking to shift responsibility for the breakdown of the ceasefire regime onto government forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko, the chief of Russia’s center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, said on Monday.

"We consider a press statement of the leaders of opposition groups and groups acting under their names dated May 22, 2016 as an attempt to shift responsibility for violation of the regime of cessation of hostilities onto government troops," he told journalists.

According to the Russian general, among the groups that signed the abovementioned statement are both moderate opposition groups controlled by the United States and units maintaining close relations with Jabhat al-Nusra, which fact, in his words, "is surprising" for the Russian side.

He cited data from Russian monitors who report that Syria’s government troops conduct no combat operations in the vicinity of the settlement of Darayya but register shootouts between groups blocked in this area. Such reports, in his words, run counter to the opposition statement. "We call on all the signatories to the ceasefire agreement to strictly observe their liabilities," he stressed.

"Once again, we call on the American side to continue work with moderate opposition units it controls to push them towards joining the ceasefire regime, providing exact outline of the areas they control and pulling groups that observe the ceasefire terms out of territories taken by Jabhat al-Nusra and other international terrorist organizations," Kuralenko underscored.

A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

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