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25 Dec, 2017 11:06

Reports on US training ‘ex-terrorists’ in Syria concerning – Lavrov to RT

Anti-terrorist missions should not be used to topple governments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT, adding that Moscow has been concerned by recent reports of the US training former terrorists in Syria.

READ MORE: RT sits down with FM Lavrov to review global challenges of 2017

"Attempts to profit from anti-terrorist objectives – which should be common, unified and without double standards – are disturbing,” Lavrov said. These objectives should not be used to promote one’s own agenda, including “changing unwanted regimes,” he added.

Speaking of Russia-US talks on military de-escalation in Syria, Lavrov said he has “mixed feelings” about his western counterpart’s commitment to the Syrian peace process.

“Rex Tillerson used to tell me that the main goal of the US in Syria is defeating ISIS but now it is getting vaguer and vaguer,” the minister added. Instead, the forces are now said to stay in Syria until the start of the political process or, as some US officials claim, the process that involves the resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

As Lavrov put it, “the information claiming that some US military bases in Syria have started to train militants, including former members of terrorist groups, is of course quite concerning.”

Earlier in December, Russia’s Reconciliation Center for Syria released a statement accusing the US-led coalition of creating the so-called ‘New Syrian Army.’ The group allegedly comprises remnants of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), the Al-Nusra Front and other militants, and is based at a refugee camp in north-east Syria located 20 kilometers from Al-Shaddadah town. Local refugees, returning to areas freed from IS, say the refugee camp has been used by the coalition as a training ground for militants for at least the past six months.