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Lavrov Calls on US "Not to Play with Fire in Syria"

21 February, 2018, 08:00 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan at the Kremlin in Moscow Russia on 15 February 2018. Reuters

The ministry denied the relation of the killed and the wounded with the regular Russian armed forces.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has admitted that "several dozens" of its nationals were injured in recent clashes with USA -led forces in Syria, days after acknowledging five deaths in the battle. According to reports, the Feb 7 attack killed over 100 pro-government fighters who pledged their allegiance to President Bashar-al-Assad in the eastern province of Deir-al-Zor in Syria.

The Russian defense minister also accused the U.S. of having a "hidden agenda", claiming that the aim of what he labeled as Washington's "illegal military presence in Syria" was is to control the country's assets - not defeat Daesh.

The United States is still unsure who directed a February 7 attack on USA and US -backed forces in Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday, even as he acknowledged accounts that Russian civilian contractors were involved.

"I still can not give you any more information on why they would do this".

According to Lavrov, Moscow fears that by its actions in Syria, the United States is trying to dismember the country.

Russian officials refuse to admit Russian mercenaries are in Syria despite mounting reported evidence that they are active fighting in the interests of the Syrian government. The US-led coalition delivered air and artillery strikes on these pro-government fighters.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that five Russians who were not military personnel may have been killed in a clash with USA -led forces in Syria.

Taking advantage of the ongoing conflict, the Kurds had already proclaimed a semi-autonomous state in the regions stretching across Syria's northern border in 2011. But I doubt that 250 to 300 people, all just excited on their individual self, suddenly crossed the river in enemy territory, started shelling a location and maneuvering tanks against it. We'll work with, obviously, anyone who can answer that question, but I cannot, at this time.

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