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NATO to blame for tension in Syria: Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov

Following allegations by NATO that Moscow is hindering peace efforts in Syria, Russia’s Defense Ministry has struck back, saying the US-led military alliance is to blame for growing tensions in the war-torn country.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, made the remarks on Sunday in response to a statement from NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who criticized Russia’s military campaign in Syria as “undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.”

NATO states had been involved in Syria for three years, before Russia began its air campaign against Takfiri Daesh militants, pretending “they were eliminating the international terrorists,” Konashenkov said.

During this period, “nobody in the West, or in Brussels, would not even consider any talks in Syria. They were only verifying the deadline for the final collapse of the country [Syria] under the scenario used in Libya, where those were the NATO countries, which established without hindrance the "democracy" of Western sort," he added.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg presents the 2015 NATO annual report during a press conference in Brussels, January 28, 2016. (AFP photo)

The spokesman further noted that the Russian airstrikes proved to Syrians that “it is possible to fight and eliminate the international terrorism in their country,” and thus they “could begin considering Syria’s future."

Konashenkov stressed that “terrorists” operating in Syria are feeling “tension” as a result of Russia’s airstrikes in Syria, asking why a similar sentiment is felt by some NATO states.

UN-brokered peace talks between delegates from the Syrian government and divided opposition were suspended on February 3 only three days after their shaky start. The talks are not expected to resume before February 25.

The Syrian government delegation blamed the opposition for the failure of the peace talks, accusing it of pulling out because it was losing the fight on the ground.

The opposition group’s pullout came as Syrian armed forces, backed by Russian air cover, made significant gains against Takfiri militant groups on several fronts. Moscow began pounding terror groups in Syria last September upon a request by Damascus.

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