‘Russia to cooperate with patriotic opposition in Syria’

Moscow, Oct 12 (IANS) Russia is ready to cooperate with all opposition groups in Syria that do not embrace terrorism in order to speed up a political solution to the crisis in the war-torn country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

“We are ready to cooperate with such patriotic groups of armed opposition, both in coordinating the fight against terrorism on the Syrian territory and in an effort to prepare the ground for a political process,” Lavrov told reporters.

The process should begin as soon as possible and should lead to a reconciliation of the Syrian people, he added.

Meanwhile, Lavrov also expressed Russia’s willingness to coordinate its actions in Syria with the US-led coalition, which the top Russian diplomat said currently appears not to be ready for it, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are interested in establishing coordination with the coalition, which is led by the US and includes countries of the Arab world and the Persian Gulf… to coordinate joint actions,” he said.

The coalition has so far declined to provide Russia with intelligence on terrorist bases or bases of the patriotic opposition, he said.

“Our colleagues from the coalition are not ready for this yet,” he added.

Russia’s Air Force has been launching air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups since September 30 following a request by Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

But Moscow has ruled out the possibility of sending troops for ground operations in Syria.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday in its daily report that in the past 24 hours, its aircraft has destroyed 25 fortified areas of the IS, seven command centres, six field training camps, six ammunition depots, three underground shelters, and dozens of vehicles.

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