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Russian Foreign Ministry: Terrorists use human shield to attack Syrian army

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says the methods of collecting data on the targets of airstrikes in Syria are dubious

MOSCOW, September 29. /TASS/. Terrorist groupings are using the tactic of a human shield to carry out attacks on Aleppo in Syria, Russia’s Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"An especially grave situation is developing in the north of the country, first of all, in Aleppo where government troops have fought against Jabhat al-Nusra militants and affiliated groupings in the past few days," the spokeswoman said.

"On the whole, the extremists’ tactic remains unchanged: attacks are made under the cover of a human shield - the talk is about civilians. Snipers are actively involved. They conduct fire not only against Syrian army servicemen but also against civilians," Zakharova said.

According to Zakharova, "so-called infernal machines - self-made explosive devices - were used time after time."

"Militants are laying mines along positions they are abandoning and approaches to them. Populated areas in the province of Aleppo and also in the province of Latakia and the Damascus region were shelled," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Data on airstrikes

Zakharova went on to say that the methods of collecting data on the targets of airstrikes in Syria are dubious.

"We are doubtful about the methods of collecting data on the airstrikes at the medical facilities," she said pointing out that militants might be the main source of the information.

"These are the forces that are most interested in defaming the Syrian government and Russia, Russian Airspace Force and those Russian citizens who are cooperating with the Syrian people in their struggle against terrorism," Zakharova added.

A number of Western media earlier reported a series of airstrikes at medical facilities in the Aleppo area.

Separation of opposition from terrorists

Zakharova said Moscow has once again called upon the US to guarantee the separation of the opposition from the insurgents in Syria as prescribed by the Russian-US agreements. 

"Moscow has paid attention to an interview of one of the Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist group outlawed in Russian) field commanders. He straight-out said that his group was supported from abroad, that the militants needed even more advanced weapons," Zakharova noted. The field commander also said that they would continue to fight until they "achieve total victory."

"We emphasize the need to separate the opposition from the terrorists," Zakharova added. "We call on the US and all the regional forces capable of exerting pressure (on the militant groups) to ensure the separation as stipulated in the Syria Support Group’s decisions, the UN Security Council’s documents and the agreements reached by Russia and the US.".