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Translated by Ollie Richardson

15:37:29
22/09/2016

Lenta.ru

Moscow does not exclude airstrikes by the Russian airforce on the groups “Ahrar al-Sham” and “Jaish al-Islam” in Syria. This was reported to journalists on Thursday, 22nd September, by Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov, reports TASS.

“We are seeing a merger of these groups with recognized terrorist organizations. Undoubtedly, the task of combating terrorism for us is key, therefore I would not rule out any options in this area,” said the Deputy Foreign Minister.

At the same time, Ryabkov stressed that for the normalization of the situation in Syria it is necessary to implement the previously reached political agreements. He noted that this is the priority of Russia, rather than setting goals for the airforce.

Earlier on Thursday, Ryabkov said that Washington is unable to fulfil its obligations for the separation of the opposition and terrorists groups in Syria.

On 9th September, during talks held in Geneva the Foreign Ministers of the US and Russia John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, agreed a plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria. The document includes the requirement for a ceasefire and the coordination of operations between US and Russian militaries on the territory of the Arab Republic.

“Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) originated in 2012, breaking away from the opposition “Free Syrian Army”, parts of which receive support from Western countries. According to various estimates, 15,000-20,000 soldiers are fighting under the group’s flag. Formed in 2012, “Ahrar al-Sham” has up to 25,000 fighters and operates mainly in the Syrian province of Idlib.

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