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Russia expects US to clarify its new policy on Syria

Donald Trump earlier said that the coalition’s next move would be to "transition into a new phase"

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Washington’s new approach towards Syria triggers numerous questions, and Moscow hopes to receive an honest answer to them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

"We maintain contacts with our US counterparts on the Syrian problem, including the so-called deconfliction, between both military officials and diplomats," the Russian minister said at a news conference following meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari. "When we hear about the United States’ new line, which implies the creation of some local councils in sovereign Syria, of course, this fact cannot fail to raise eyebrows."

"We address all these questions to Washington and expect to get an honest and clear answer," Lavrov stressed.

He drew attention to some "strange things" taking place in the activities of the US-led coalition in Syria.

"There were numerous instances when during the Syrian army’s offensive against IS positions Islamic State militants were able to leave the areas controlled by the US-led coalition and were sent to put up additional resistance to the Syrian government army," the minister explained. "In particular, there were cases of mass exodus of IS militants from Raqqa at the very moment when the coalition supported by the US besieged the city."

US President Donald Trump earlier said that the coalition’s next move would be to "transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again.".