Russia has accused the United States of protecting the Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in Syria.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said Washington had broken its promise to “take as a priority an obligation to separate the opposition” from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which is al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.
“We have more and more reasons to believe that from the very beginning the plan was to spare Nusra and to keep it just in case for Plan B or stage two, when it would be time to change the regime,” Lavrov said in an interview aired on BBC World News.
Russia has repeatedly urged Washington to honor its commitment to separate terrorists operating in Syria from the so-called moderate opposition.
On September 9, Russia and the United States agreed on a truce deal aimed at allowing humanitarian access to conflict-ridden areas and joint attacks against militant groups that are not included in the agreement, mainly the Takfiri Daesh terrorists and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
Ten days later on September 19, the Syrian army announced an end to the ceasefire, blaming militants for the failure of the truce.
Russia has criticized the United States for not doing enough to rein in militants in Syria to protect the truce, saying continued violations of the ceasefire by militants made it “senseless” for Damascus to stick to the agreement.
Phone conversation on Aleppo
The Russian foreign minister had a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, when the two sides discussed the situation in Aleppo, a northwestern Syrian city that has been a flash point over the past few years.
The western section of the city is under the control of government forces, but the east is held by foreign-backed militants.
Lavrov told Kerry during the phone call that Moscow was ready to consider additional ways to normalize the situation in Aleppo.
The ceasefire agreement, the Russian foreign minister said, had been violated numerous times in eastern parts of Aleppo by militants led by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
The United States’ failure to separate terrorist groups from the moderate opposition, Lavrov added, had allowed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham to “hide behind other armed groups of the opposition with which Washington is cooperating.”