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Syrian envoy says Eastern Aleppo has no opposition, only terrorists

November 23, 2016, 15:38 UTC+3

Syria's ambassador to Russia is sure that Damascus was able to achieve a military victory in Aleppo

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. Eastern Aleppo is under terrorists’ control, there are no opposition activists with whom talks could be held, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riayd Haddad said on Wednesday.

Riyad Haddad said earlier that the Syrian government was ready to hold talks with the opposition but it would continue military activities against terrorists. Moreover, he said with confidence that Damascus was able to achieve a military victory in Aleppo.

"We have no doubts we can achieve a military victory in Aleppo," he said.

"We have been waging war against terrorists not the opposition. There is opposition in every country, it is normal. We have been holding talks with the opposition, particularly in Geneva," Haddad added.

Damascus is ready to take part in intra-Syrian talks in any place, the ambassador stressed. "Syria is ready to take part in any intra-Syrian conference. We have no preconditions," the diplomat said.

Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that Moscow support holding intra-Syrian talks in Damascus if the Syrian government gives its consent.

Chemical weapons

The Russian military possess samples of banned chemical agents, which rebels are using in Syria, Riyad Haddad said.

"Rebels are using toxic agents in Syria," the ambassador stressed. "The Russian military has models of those weapons at their disposal. White phosphorous and chloride (poisonous gas) were found," the ambassador told journalists.

"Despite the fact that this is a prohibited weapon, the West refused to send experts to make certain that those samples contained chemical agents," Haddad went on to say.

US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby stated at one of the regular briefings that the United States was so far unable to confirm as trustworthy the information provided by the IHS Markit analytical company that IS (a terror organization, outlawed in Russia) terrorists were using chemical weapons.

The IHS Markit report says that IS terrorists have used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq at least 52 times, including 14 times in the outskirts of Mosul, since 2014.

US administration's position on Syria

Damascus hopes the new US administration will change its position on the Syrian problem, Haddad went on.

"It is still early to judge what stance the new administration will take," he said. "But we hope the approaches will change."

US president elect Donald J. Trump said in an interview with Wall Street Journal on November 11 that he is going to focus on the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) instead of attempts to ouster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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