‘US-backed terrorists violating Aleppo ceasefire’
Russia says US-backed militant groups in Syria have violated the new ceasefire 23 times since it entered into force in the northwestern city of Aleppo.
Viktor Poznikhir, a senior Russian military officer, said in a televised briefing on Wednesday that anti-Damascus groups have targeted residential areas as well as army positions, while Syrian government forces were fully respecting with the truce.
“Syrian government troops have completely stopped firing, with the exception of areas where Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra fighters are active,” Poznikhir said, adding, “Unfortunately the same cannot be said for armed units of the moderate opposition controlled by the US. After the start of the cessation of hostilities by this morning, 23 instances of firing on residential areas and government positions were registered.”
The Russian official, however, said the ceasefire in Aleppo is largely holding.
Russia has sent artillery reconnaissance equipment to Aleppo to detect and suppress attempts at ceasefire violations.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the US-led coalition’s refusal to conduct airstrikes in Syria on positions held by the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, calling on Washington to reverse its course.
Lavrov called on the coalition forces to consider the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham as a terrorist outfit, saying, “I have a very demanding task now – not to let this list (of terrorist organizations) be reduced.”
“I have no reason not to trust [US Secretary of State] John Kerry, but what we see on the ground (in Syria) is that the coalition is very reluctant to strike the positions of the Nusra Front,” Lavrov added.
Since September 2014, the US and some of its allies have been carrying out airstrikes against what are said to be positions of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
The US-Russia brokered ceasefire went into effect on Monday at sunset. The deal’s initial objectives include allowing humanitarian access and joint Moscow-Washington attacks against those militant groups that are not covered by the agreement, including Daesh and al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
The truce is the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011.