Syrian Opposition Groups Demand Russia’s Anti-ISIS Protection

Syrian Opposition Groups Demand Russia’s Anti-ISIS Protection
Sun Mar 6, 2016 16:49:58

Several Syrian opposition groups have requested protection from Moscow as the Takfiri terrorists launch manhunt for those participating in a recently announced ceasefire, the Russian military says.

“They are asking us to provide their security and defend them from militants of the ISIS group and other terrorist organizations who declared a manhunt for opposition figures signing ceasefire agreements,” said the head of the Russian truce center in Syria, Lieutenant General Sergey Kuralenko, on Saturday.

The ceasefire agreement, recently brokered by the United States and Russia, does not cover areas under the control of ISIS and the al-Qaeda–affiliated al-Nusra Front.

“From our part, we will help ensure the security of the leaders of the Syrian opposition units and heads of local administrations who signed agreements to end fighting and to start the reconciliation process,” Kuralenko said.

He added that since the center opened last week in Russia’s Hmeimim military base in Syria, 23 meetings had been held with opposition forces.

"During even this short period of time, we have noticed drastic changes in the process of the talks," he said.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, around 30 opposition groups have so far joined the truce and six more are currently engaged in negotiations.    

Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura noted that the latest round of Syria peace talks would get a staggered start later in the week.

"I see us beginning on (Thursday) March 10 when we will launch the process," he added.


NATO hails Russia’s Syria campaign

Also on Saturday, the German media outlet FOCUS cited a classified NATO document, reporting that Russia's Syria task force has shown a remarkable amount of efficiency and professionalism.

The NATO document, prepared by military experts, highlighted Moscow’s 40 fighter jets deployed in Syria , which launch up to 75 anti-ISIS sorties a day with high accuracy.

It added that the deployed Russian aircraft are “clearly inferior in number” to the planes used by the US-led coalition, which carry out only 20 strikes a day.

The report also stressed that no references were made in the document to civilian casualties resulting from Russian airstrikes, which is contrary to Western media reports.

The independent NGO Airwars recently reported that civilian death toll from the US-led coalition’s airstrikes is “set to reach 1,000 within days.”

The group noted that over 967 Syrian and Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the bombings reportedly targeting ISIS.

E/S 212-11

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