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Russian diplomat slams US ‘lies’ about killings of Turkish servicemen in Syria

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that "Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel" in Syria
Russian Foreign Ministry's office Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry's office
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. US officials are disseminating plain lies in an attempt to disrupt Russian-Turkish cooperation in Syria, a Russian Foreign Ministry source told TASS on Wednesday, commenting on US top diplomat’s claims that ‘ Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel’ in Syria.

"Even during a global pandemic of an infectious disease, US officials continue their massive anti-Russian propaganda campaign, disseminating information that is clearly false. A yet another outrageous statement was made by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during the March 17 media briefing," the source said. "Regretfully, in a bid to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey, who are cooperating in Syria, US officials even resort to plain lies."

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that "Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel" in Syria.

According to the Russian diplomat, it was the United States who fuelled the conflict in Syria, actively supporting any group waging a war against the Arab Republic’s legitimate government, while Russia and Turkey "are trying to bring peace to Syria’s province of Idlib."

"Provocative statements coming from the United States demonstrate once again that they want the war in Syria to continue," he added.

"By the way, Pompeo’s words of support to Turkey on Idlib lead to an obvious question: does this mean that while counting on help from its NATO ally Turkey in western Syria, where they want the current instability to be preserved, the United States openly betrays them in the east of the country, in Kurdish regions which the Turks see as a threat to their security," the source continued. "We are convinced that Ankara sees through Washington’s deception and blatant double standards."

The Russian diplomat said that Syria’s eastern regions remain under control of US troops who "continue to harbor IS [Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia] and other terrorists and foster separatist moods among Kurds in an attempt to undermine sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic."

Idlib is the only Syrian region that has been controlled by illegal armed groups since 2012. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants who refused to surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and Syria’s southern regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib province and other measures aimed to regulate the situation in the region during the talks in Moscow on March 5. All hostilities in Idlib must be stopped on the entire line of contact starting March 6, in line with the declaration signed on the outcomes of the meeting. Starting March 15, Russia and Turkey began joint patrolling on the M4 motorway in Syria, along which they created a security corridor. Moscow and Ankara have confirmed their commitment to maintaining Syria’s sovereignty, agreeing to continue the decisive fight against terrorism.