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Russia censures UN chief on Syria remarks

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)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russia has rejected UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's accusations that Moscow had contributed to a recent collapse of peace talks on Syria.

“We have always considered and continue to consider that comments from the chief administrator of a global organization... should remain impartial and objective. This is not clearly the case this time,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday. 

Ban told Britain’s The Financial Times newspaper last week that Russia had continued aerial bombings against targets in Syria after the talks began, making it “extremely difficult” for negotiations to take place. 

Zakharova said“The misrepresentation campaign of Russia’s role in the Syrian settlement has been launched by several foreign media, including with regard to the operation of the Russian aerospace forces, and the fatalities among civilians allegedly resulting from the operation.”

“We have noted that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon became, either by commission or omission, embroiled in this campaign,” she said.

Fighters loyal to al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and its allies gather around a tank on a square in the Syrian city of Idlib, March 28, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

The peace talks in Geneva unraveled on February 4 less than a week after they had started as a Saudi-backed opposition group refused to attend a meeting with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 260,000 people and forced millions from their homes since its onset in 2011.

Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh, and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, another Takfiri group, as well as other terrorist targets at Damascus’ request since last September.

The West accuses Russia of targeting the “moderate” militants and also says that the Russian military campaign has led to civilian casualties.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN commission of inquiry on Syria, on Monday supported the Russian raids.

“I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups,” he said.

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