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Russia says to continue Syria work with US

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)
Syrian government forces gather in the largely deserted Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat, north of Aleppo, on September 24, 2016 after capturing the area following multiple Russian airstrikes. (Photos by AFP)

The Russian Defense Ministry has warned that militant groups are preparing to launch chemical attacks on civilian areas in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.

“We have come to know that terrorist groups are preparing provocative strikes with chemical shells against the positions of the Syrian army and residential areas in the eastern part of Aleppo in order to accuse the government troops there," Lieutenant-General Viktor Poznikhir of the Russian army's general staff said on Wednesday.

He also noted that the ministry had obtained information about the role of militants in an attack on a UN aid convoy close to Aleppo that killed over a dozen people on September 19.

Aid is seen strewn on the ground in the town of Urum al-Kubra on the outskirts of the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo on September 20, 2016, the morning after a convoy delivering aid was hit by a deadly airstrike.

"We received additional information about the involvement of opposition groups closely connected with al-Nusra Front in the attack against the UN humanitarian convoy near Urum al-Kubra,” said Poznikhir.

Aleppo has been divided over the past four years between government forces in the west and foreign-backed terrorists in the east, making it a frontline battleground.

Russia ready to continue Syria work with US

Poznikhir also announced Russia's readiness to continue working with the US on the Syrian crisis, saying it would be sending experts to Geneva for negotiations on the subject in the near future.

"The Russian Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, on instructions from the President of the Russian Federation, are ready for further continuation of the joint work with our American partners on the Syrian problem," he said.

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 Geneva, where they discussed the crisis in Syria on September 9, 2016.

He added that the decision was made following a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the day.

During the conversation, Kerry threatened to halt its diplomacy with Russia on Syria, claiming that Moscow was accountable for an escalation of fighting in Aleppo.

While stressing the situation in Syria was getting worse, Poznikhir noted, "We count on our American partners to be ready to work together.”

"Opposition groups, taking advantage of the seven-day truce, replenished ammunition and weapons reserves, regrouped and moved to active offensive operations to capture new territories," he added.

The Moscow-Washington brokered ceasefire in Syria came to an end on September 19 after a week.


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