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UPDATE 2 - Russia says US 'took provocative steps' in Syria

UPDATE 2 - Russia says US 'took provocative steps' in Syria
Russia says US threatens Geneva peace process by taking 'irresponsible' steps in Syria

By Emre Gurkan Abay, Safvan Allahverdi and Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that the Pentagon took “provocative steps” by providing modern arms to the U.S.-backed groups in Syria.
In a statement, the Defense Ministry said Turkey launched the Afrin operation due to Pentagon’s supply of modern weapons to US-led armed groups in Syria, and added that the United States’ irresponsible behavior in Syria threatened the peace process in the country as well as the Geneva process.
It also highlighted the “provocative steps” taken by the United States was the main factor contributing to the development of the crisis situation in the northwest Syria.
The U.S. created some Kurdish populated areas in Syria and tried to isolate these regions, according to the statement.
In addition, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford spoke with his Russian counterpart General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on the phone about the situation in Syria, according to a statement released by Pentagon on Saturday.
"Both leaders recognized the importance of maintaining regular communication in order to avoid miscalculation and to promote transparency in areas where our militaries are operating in close proximity," the statement read.
Moreover, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the situation in Afrin.
According to a statement posted on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official Facebook account, the phone conversation was initiated by the U.S. side.
Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed the progress in the Syrian peace process and the Congress of Syrian National dialogue that will be held in Sochi on January 29-31.
Heads of foreign services agreed to remain in “close contact,” said the statement.
Turkey has launched a military campaign in northwestern Syria to eliminate the PKK, PYD, YPG and Daesh terrorist organizations, and to protect civilians in the region from the terrorists’ oppression and cruelty.

source: News Feed
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