‘Disgraceful lies’: MP blasts Pentagon chief’s statement on Russian role in fighting ISIS
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s allegation that Russia rendered “virtually zero” support to the anti-terrorism campaign in Syria is a “lie” that puts the US in a “foolish” and “worrying” position, says a member of the State Duma’s Committee for International Affairs.
“I think it makes no sense now if we pay any attention to statements made by resigning US politicians. However, through his lies, Mr. Carter not only disgraced himself but the agency he is heading, an agency that must possess authentic information about who achieved what in Syria,” Sergey Zheleznyak MP was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The comment came soon after the US defense secretary said in an interview with NBC that Russia had given "virtually zero" support to the United States in fighting terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, and instead only helped to stir up the Syrian civil war.
Zheleznyak told reporters that Carter’s words were proof that the Pentagon chief considers the destruction of several thousand terrorists in Syria as something unimportant.
“Their [the killed terrorists’] associates who are being cared for by the United States will hardly like this. The situation in which Mr. Carter just put himself is not only foolish, it is very worrying,” he said.
“I hope that the new leaders of the United States will show a more professional attitude to their work and we will not have to waste our time explaining basic facts. The leading players on the international arena, such as Russia and the United States, must together search for and find solutions of global problems, together oppose modern challenges and strengthen global stability,” Zheleznyak told reporters.
On December 29, Syrian government forces and seven groups of armed opposition signed a ceasefire agreement, brokered by Moscow and Ankara and opening the way to major peace talks in the country.
Shortly afterwards the UN Security Council unanimously passed the Russian-backed resolution endorsing the nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The resolution praised “efforts taken by Russia and Turkey and aimed at stopping violence in Syria and launching a political process.”
The ceasefire agreement also reads that the armed groups that have not joined the truce, including IS and Al-Nusra Front, should be considered terrorists.
Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are planned to take place in early 2017 in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.
The head of the Syrian General Staff , Lt. General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, earlier told RIA Novosti that Damascus considered Russia’s help as crucial in fighting the terrorist threat.
“The support that the Russian Air Force offered was crucial for our victories, which paved the way for a ceasefire and created the conditions for launching a political settlement of the Syrian crisis,” the general said.
After the ceasefire agreement was sealed, Russia started to scale down its military presence in Syria. In particular, in early January the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier with its support group started out for its home base of Severomorsk.