Syrian FM: US Using Nusra to Undermine Astana Talks Progress
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that the US is enabling al-Nusra militants to subvert the Astana peace process. The Russian FM in turn vowed to respond to any provocations from the US's militant "friends."
Speaking to journalists following talks with Russia's top diplomat on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Friday, Moallem accused the US military of enlisting the help of terrorists to wreak agreements on de-escalation zones secured within the Astana reconciliation process.
"They are dissatisfied with the successful outcome of Astana peace process, that's why they use their [assets], including al-Nusra [al-Nusra Front] to impede the agreements that had been negotiated," Moallem said, as cited by TASS.
At the latest round of the international talks in the Kazakh capital, backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey as the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire, the parties agreed on the boundaries of a final de-escalation zone in Idlib province.
The initiative, championed by Moscow, is aimed at separating militants, such as the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISIS" / "ISIL"] and al-Nusra Front, from the so-called "moderate" opposition in the areas designated in the agreement. The deal envisages creating a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire in four de-escalation zones, which include eastern Ghouta, parts of Homs, Hama, Latakia, Aleppo and Idlib provinces as well as territories in southern Syria.
The creation of four de-escalation zones, which has been in process since the initial idea was approved by the Syrian government in May, was hailed by Russia's special envoy for Syria, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, as a "turning point" in solving the Syrian crisis.
Moallem went on to note that thanks to a fruitful cooperation between Syrian and Russian forces the fight with extremists is nearing its end. More than 87 percent of Syria's territory had been freed from militants' control, according to the latest data from the Russian Defense Ministry released Friday.
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Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team