US using so-called moderate militants to oust Assad: Russian MP




The United States is exploiting the so-called moderate opposition to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says a Russian lawmaker.

Frants Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the defense and security committee of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament), made the remarks on Saturday in an interview with Interfax news agency.

The comments came hours after the Pentagon questioned Russia over its airstrikes against the US-backed militants in southern Syria earlier this week, saying Russian forces failed to heed calls to stop the attack.

However, Klintsevich said that the Russian fighter jets are conducting air raids in Syria in line with the international law and agreements with the Syrian government, adding, “We cannot act otherwise.”

“The so-called moderate opposition’s only role is to oust Assad. Both [US Secretary of State John] Kerry and the US presidential administration said unambiguously … that they are running out of patience,” he said.

Klintsevich also noted that the US-backed militants and Daesh terrorists coordinate their actions, accusing Washington of seeking benefits on the brink of conflict.

He further emphasized that Assad’s positions are strengthening thanks to the Russian airstrikes.

“The opposition is unhappy today, because they need power, and the Americans are heating them up,” the Russian MP said.

Moscow has long insisted that the so-called moderate opposition groups in Syria should leave the areas held by terrorists, which are targeted in the Russian air campaign.

Claiming it is unable to remove the opposition groups, Washington, however, has called on Moscow not to carry out airstrikes against the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorist group.

On September 30, 2015, Russia launched its air campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups upon a request by Damascus. Russian military planes and helicopters are providing support to the Syrian army’s ground operations against extremists

Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011. Damascus says Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militants fighting the government forces.

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