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Lavrov comments on Raqqa developments

The Russian top diplomat believes the situation shows flaws in coordination of the war on terror in Syria

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. The exit by a group of militants of the Islamic State (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) from Raqqa, even though it was eventually destroyed by Russia’s air task force, shows flaws in coordination of the war on terror in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"The situation that has emerged shows flaws in the current coordination of the activities of all those who are fighting terrorism in Syria," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"We, of course, heard eventual statements by the US command, which said they intended to change the tactics and instead of periodically organizing offensive forced marches around Raqqa, they will be encircling Raqqa to prevent IS militants from escaping. We’ll see how this will be implemented in practice," the Russian foreign minister said.

vrov rejected the statements by the Syrian Democratic Forces alleging they had reached no agreement with Islamic State (IS) militants allowing them to leave Raqqa and move towards Palmyra.

"Our Defense Ministry confirms this information. It relied on authentic data. Moreover, soon after this information was made public, IS militants really exited Raqqa and moved towards Palmyra," Lavrov said.

As Russia’s top diplomat stressed, wherever IS terrorists are staying, they must be destroyed. Russia is set to strictly comply with this position, he added.

"As you know, units of the Russian air task force spotted this movement and attacked this column so that it wouldn’t get into Palmyra. And this will continue in all the situations, if IS terrorists are detected wherever this may happen on the Syrian territory. Both they and their facilities, bases and training camps are an absolutely legitimate target," the Russian foreign minister said.

Strike on IS

A source in Russia’s Defense Ministry said on May 27 that agreement had been reached in Raqqa between the command of Kurdish formations from the SDF and leaders of the IS groupings on opening a safe southern corridor for militants towards Palmyra.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that a missile strike had destroyed IS targets east of Palmyra that included heavy military hardware and the amassment of militants redeployed by terrorists from Raqqa.