Russia urges US strikes on Fateh al-Sham


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized the US-led coalition’s refusal to conduct air raids 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.

On Tuesday, Lavrov called on the coalition forces to consider the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham as a terror 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,” he added.

Since September 2014, the US, along with some of its allies, has been carrying out aerial assaults against what are said to be the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrov said Moscow wants a recent Russia-US agreement on cessation of hostilities in Syria to be published in full, adding that Moscow “has nothing to hide” and seeks the United Nations Security Council’s formal approval of the Syria truce deal as well.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shake hands at the conclusion of their press conference following their meeting in the Swiss city of Geneva where they discussed the crisis in Syria on September 9, 2016. ©Reuters

The US-Russia brokered ceasefire went into effect on Monday at sunset. The deal’s initial aims include allowing humanitarian access and joint Moscow-Washington attacks against militant groups, which are not covered by the agreement, including Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

The truce is the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the war in Syria which started in March 2011.

‘No disagreement between Iran, Russia on Syria truce’

In a relevant development on Tuesday, RIA news agency quoted Russia’s Foreign Ministry as saying that there are no differences between Moscow and Tehran over the latest Syria ceasefire agreement.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov is expected to hold a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari in Moscow later on Tuesday.

The meeting will focus on the latest developments in Syria, especially the truce, as well as issues of mutual interest. The two officials will also exchange views on important regional issues.

Russia monitoring truce on Aleppo road: Reports

Additionally on Tuesday, Russian media reported that the country’s military has deployed a “mobile observation post” to monitor the ceasefire on the key Castello Road in Syria.

Smoke billows near the Castello Road during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake control of the militant-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, July 26, 2016. ©AFP

Castello is the only path into the militant-held eastern areas of the embattled northwestern city of Aleppo. The road has been controlled by Syrian government forces.

Russian media reports also said that military observers had also been deployed to the western Syrian city of Hama.