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Moscow says US strike against Syrian military violates international law

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The US strike against pro-government forces in Syria violates international law, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

"Russian and US military maintain contact regarding the situation in Syria by and large," he said. "The question is not about whether there had been a warning of the strike or there had been none, but about the political side of the affair. Just as it was the case on May 18, when a strike was delivered in that area, the latest one, according to our estimates, was carried out in violation of international law. The explanations we hear from the US central command are doubtful, to say the least," he said.

"The armed units that were attacked did not pose any military threat to the US-led anti-IS coalition," Ryabkov pointed out. "In fact, the United States is trying to change the Syrian security zones in a way that suits Washington," the Russian diplomat added.

"We have proposed that the de-escalation zones be agreed on, we have even handed our ideas and proposals over to the US," Ryabkov noted. "We are carrying on with the work, but no meaningful reaction has come from Washington yet, so yesterday’s incident will have a negative effect on the situation ‘on the ground’, as well as on the prospects for solving the Syrian issue," he added.

According to the Russian deputy foreign minister, Moscow insists that the de-escalation zones concept is fully implemented as it was enshrined in the memorandum adopted on May 4.

Memorandum on de-escalation zones

The memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria was signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey at the May 4 meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana. De-escalation zones have been established in four areas, including the Idlib Governorate, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Governorates north of the city of Homs, eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Governorates in southern Syria.

Starting from May 6, military activities and aircraft flights in the de-escalation zones are banned. At the same time, Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed to take all the necessary measures to continue fighting against terrorists on these territories and in the rest of Syria.

The memorandum will remain in effect for six months and could be automatically extended for another six months.