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Russia advises US to use ‘better discretion’ in planning airstrikes in Syria

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman believes the political and military situation in Syria has improved

VLADIVOSTOK, June 8. /TASS/. Moscow calls on the US-led international coalition fighting against the Islamic State terrorist group to be more careful when planning airstrikes on extremists in Syria to avoid deaths among the civilians, Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"We again call on the leadership of the anti-IS coalition to be more careful when planning the airstrikes of the alliance’s parties on the positions of terrorists in Syria," Zakharova told reporters on Thursday. "We have repeatedly stressed: such ill-thought steps exacerbate the sufferings of Syrian civilians."

The diplomat noted that on June 3 the airstrike carried out by the US-led coalition in Raqqa killed 43 civilians, and more than 30 people died on June 5 when the coalition’s missile and bombing raid targeted a group of refugees.

"Over the past month, more than 200 Syrians have been killed as a result of the coalition aviation’s actions in Raqqa and its outskirts," the diplomat said, stressing that this irresponsible military tactics is "unacceptable for the anti-terrorist alliance." This casts doubt on the efficiency of these steps, Zakharova said.

Russia is open for contacts with all parties concerned on the de-escalation zones and enhancing the ceasefire in Syria, she went on. 

Russia is holding active contacts with partners on fulfilling the memorandum signed in Astana on May 4 to create de-escalation zones, Zakharova told reporters. "The bulk of work on implementing the memorandum falls on the shoulders of the guarantor-states - Russia, Iran and Turkey."

"At the same time, Moscow is open for a candid exchange of views with all actors that could make a constructive contribution to strengthening the ceasefire, decreasing violence in Syria, easing the sufferings of Syrians and creating conditions for advancing the political process," the diplomat said.

"Russia is pleased to note that the political and military situation in Syria has been improving," she said. "The implementation of the memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones and the strengthening of the ceasefire has allowed the government troops to focus on the fight against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups (both outlawed in Russia - TASS), as well as their affiliated units," the Russian diplomat added.

Southern Damascus quarters may join ceasefire

Zakharova went on to say that Syria’s government plans to extend local ceasefires in the southern quarters of Damascus.

"The Syrian leadership plans to further continue the course towards local ceasefires," the diplomat said. "The southern neighborhoods of Damascus are the next in the line."

The diplomat stressed that humanitarian situation in these areas is improving. "We welcome these developments," Zakharova said. "The country’s authorities are restoring water supply, social infrastructure and citizens are returning home."