Rus­sia vows to hit back

US ac­cused of stalling on cease­fire plan

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Rus­sia has warned the United States that it will start re­spond­ing to cease­fire vi­o­la­tions in Syria uni­lat­er­ally start­ing to­day if Wash­ing­ton re­fuses to co­or­di­nate rules of en­gage­ment against the vi­o­la­tors.

A US of­fi­cial said the is­sues were be­ing dis­cussed “in a con­struc­tive man­ner”.

The Rus­sian mil­i­tary have ac­cused the US of drag­ging its feet on re­spond­ing to Moscow’s pro­pos­als on joint mon­i­tor­ing of a Syria cease­fire.

A Rus­sian gen­eral said at the week­end that fur­ther de­lays are lead­ing to civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, like in Aleppo, where 67 civil­ians re­port­edly have been killed by mil­i­tant fire since the truce started.

Lt Gen Sergei Rud­skoi of the Rus­sian Gen­eral Staff said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that Rus­sia will have to use force uni­lat­er­ally be­cause the US, in talks with Rus­sia last week, had re­fused to co­or­di­nate a joint re­sponse.

“The Amer­i­can side was not ready for this par­tic­u­lar dis­cus­sion and for the ap­proval of the agree­ment”, the state­ment quoted him as say­ing.

How­ever, in a state­ment e-mailed to The As­so­ci­ated Press, a US of­fi­cial in Geneva said: “We have seen the me­dia re­ports on al­leged Rus­sian con­cerns over cease­fire vi­o­la­tions. Who­ever is mak­ing such state­ments must be mis­in­formed, be­cause th­ese is­sues have been dis­cussed at length al­ready, and con­tinue to be dis­cussed, in a con­struc­tive man­ner.”

The of­fi­cial de­manded anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rised to speak pub­licly on the mat­ter. The cease­fire that be­gan on Fe­bru­ary 27, bro­kered by Rus­sia and the US, has helped sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce hos­til­i­ties.

Ex­trem­ist groups ISIS and the Al Qaedalinked Al Nusra Front have been ex­cluded from the truce.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin last week re­called some Rus­sian war­planes from Syria, but said the ac­tion against ISIS and the Al Nusra Front will con­tinue.

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