Russia Ready for Ground Attack in Syria’s Aleppo, Latakia: US Military Official

Russia Ready for Ground Attack in Syria’s Aleppo, Latakia: US Military Official
Thu Apr 21, 2016 22:26:18

The Russian military and the Syrian Army are preparing for a major ground attack against terrorist groups in the Arab country, a US military official says, citing data by American intelligence agencies.

“About two weeks ago, US intelligence agencies began to detect the redeployment of artillery units to areas near the northern city of Aleppo, the opposition stronghold, and inside Latakia province, near where government forces have been gathering,” a senior US military official was quoted as saying by Washington Times on Thursday.

The alleged Russian military moves prompted US President Barack Obama to call his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday and have an “intense conversation” with him, according to Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.

The Russian military has been carrying air raids against terrorist positions in Syria since September 2015 upon a request from Damascus.

Last month, Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Moscow’s forces from the Arab state following the resumption of Geneva peace talks between the government President Bashar al-Assad and the so-called opposition groups.

Russian and Syrian forces agreed to halt military operations against militant groups, except Daesh and al-Nusra Front, under a ceasefire agreement with the Saudi-based opposition that was mediated by the US and Russia and came into effect in late February.

The US military official’s assessment comes shortly after the collapse of UN-brokered peace talks, the latest round of which was halted on April 19, after leaders of the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC) left the table to protest at what they called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria.

Both Russia and Syria have dismissed allegations that the Syrian government forces violated the ceasefire.

Following the suspension of talks, Turkey-based Free Syrian Army and Ahrar al-Sham Takfiri terrorists announced the launch of new assaults in Latakia and Hama provinces.

Syria has been grappling with foreign-backed militancy for more than five years now. The conflict has left over 470,000 people dead so far, according to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, Press TV reported.

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