Russia Says Terrorists ‘Recovering Strength’ In US-Controlled Zone In Syria

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Moscow warns US not to play with fire in Syria

The Russian Foreign Minister has told the US to immediately shut down its so-called zone of control in southern Syria, saying Washington has practically made the area a safe haven for al-Nusra terrorists (now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham)

Sergei Lavrov was referring to a zone near the Syrian town of al-Tanf, in Homs which the US unilaterally declared to be under its protection last year.

The 55-kilometer zone contains the Rukban refugee camp, which Russia claims is home to many terrorists, including those of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group.

Lavrov added that the Americans’ assurances that Washington’s only objective in Syria is the war on terror run counter to the real US actions in the country

Speaking at the Valdai Club conference on the Middle East on Monday, Lavrov said: “Inside the al-Tanf zone, which the Americans unilaterally declared under their protection, and inside the refugee camp terrorists are regularly reported to recover strength”

He added that the US was turning a blind eye to abuses of its protection: “On several occasions they conducted raids from there into other territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. This zone must be shut down immediately”

Press TV reports: Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrov also criticized, without mentioning by name, some member states of the UN Security Council for being hesitant to say that the humanitarian convoys could not enter the US-controlled al-Tanf zone, because Washington “would not guarantee their safety.”

“Instead they focus attention on the humanitarian situation in Idlib or Eastern Ghouta,” he said, adding that Russia has increasing evidence that the US has no intention of fighting the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham outfit.
Lavrov also dismissed reports that hundreds of Russians had been killed in Syria recently, saying that such reports were an attempt to use improper means to exploit the war in the Arab country.

On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the presence of US forces in al-Tanf, saying the so-called zone of control had become a shelter for the remaining members of Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Russia has time and again accused the US of attempting to hamper a Syrian full victory against Daesh, which is on its last legs in eastern Syria and in neighboring Iraq. Moscow has already released evidence revealing that US forces deployed in Dayr al-Zawr’s border regions and in Jordan have been collaborating with Daesh and other terrorists, including those of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, through providing intelligence about Syrian and Russian forces.

Moscow has backed Syria’s fight against terror since September 2015 when Russian air force and troops arrived in the Arab country at an official request of Damascus to help the government fight against Daesh and other Takfiri terrorists. Russia’s assistance has proved to be a major success as Syria has managed to liberate key areas over the past years, including the country’s second largest city, Aleppo.

Washington and its allies back militants fighting to topple the Syrian government. They have also been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The US strikes, however, have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.

Niamh Harris
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