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Kremlin concerned over situation in Syria

The Kremlin spokesman says terrorists’ steps in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta heighten tensions

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned over the situation in Syria as the terrorists’ steps in Eastern Ghouta have led to high tensions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters commenting on the reports on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb.

The situation in Syria was discussed during a phone conversation on February 25 between Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Terrorists who are in Eastern Ghouta do not lay down arms, they hold local citizens hostages and this causes a very tense situation," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman called to pay attention to the warning of the Russian Defense Ministry that terrorists who are hiding in Eastern Ghouta may use chemical weapons as a provocation. "Therefore, the situation remains very tense," he said.

Peskov refused to comment if the Russian, French and German leaders had discussed the use of chemical weapons in the region.

The Kremlin press service said the sides had discussed the Syria issues in the context of the developments in Eastern Ghouta and the provision of humanitarian access to that and other regions of Syria.

The leaders noted the importance of continuing joint efforts in order to implement the provisions of the resolution in full and as quickly as possible. Putin informed Macron and Merkel of practical steps Russia was taking to evacuate civilians, deliver humanitarian cargoes and render medical assistance to the population in need in Syria. The Russian leader emphasized that the ceasefire did not extend to military operations against terrorist groupings in Syria.

According to the Kremlin press service, the sides "reached agreement on stepping up information exchange through various channels on the Syria situation.".