Islamist fighters in Aleppo, Syria, got reinforcements from Turkey – Russian Foreign Ministry
Terrorists have increased their activities ahead of the next week’s inter-Syrian talks, with insurgents in the Syrian province of Aleppo receiving reinforcements from Turkey, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
The much-anticipated talks between the Syrian government and different opposition groups are scheduled to take place in the Swiss city of Geneva on January 25.
"Unfortunately, in recent days, it’s especially noticeable that ahead of the planned start of the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva the activities of terrorist groups have intensified. Obviously, they’re trying to turn the tide in their favor on the battlefield,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing in Moscow.
According to Zakharova, Attempts to launch counter-attacks against the government forces were performed by Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham groups, which “got serious reinforcements from Turkey.”
The increased activity of the terrorists was witnessed in several suburbs of Damascus, Homs and Idlib provinces of Syria, she added.
Russia will continue providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in Syria, Zakharova stressed.
She reiterated that Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has performed 30 flights “not only to Syria, but also to Lebanon and Jordan” in January, delivering 600 tons of food and essentials for those affected by the conflict.
Besides humanitarian assistance, “Russia has also been involved in evacuation of citizens who want to leave dangerous areas," she added.
Zakharova said that Moscow was “surprised” by recent comments from Washington, in which “representatives of the US State Department said that they don’t see Russia's efforts in regard to providing humanitarian aid to Syria.”
“This is very strange, especially since the State Department allegedly sees everything, including Russian tanks that are being flown in or crawling into the territory of other states, but there’s no humanitarian aid in sight,” she said.
Zakharova said that Russia is concerned over Ankara’s increased military incursions into Syria, adding that “it cannot be ruled out that… fortifications [built by Turkey] along the Syrian-Turkish border may be used by militant groups as strongholds.
"While all parties involved pin their hopes on the start of a meaningful and… inclusive dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, external forces continue to help militants in Syria, including terrorist groups, providing them with arms and ammunition," she stressed.
According to the spokeswoman, the Syrian government has sent an official appeal to UN secretary-general and chairman of the UN Security Council over “repeated incursions of Turkish troops into Syrian border areas.”
Since March 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a bloody civil war, in which over 250,000 lives were lost, according to UN estimates.
During those years, the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad battled various opposition and terror groups, including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front.