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Russia Accuses U.S. of Failing to Cooperate in Syria

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Russian Defense Ministry / AP

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has accused the United States of failing to share information vital to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Speaking in an interview with state television on Sunday, Shoigu claimed that Washington had not informed Russia of the locations of Islamic State and al-Nusra Front fighters.

He also claimed that the United States had not told Russia the location of "moderate opposition" fighters. “We have asked our [American] colleagues, to please tell us where the moderate opposition is, where our planes shouldn’t attack. They couldn’t tell us,” Shoigu said.

Moscow and Washington had previously pledged closer cooperation in Syria, where fighting continues in the besieged city of Aleppo. The city is one of the last major strongholds of insurgents fighting the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. Russia is currently providing air support to Assad, but the United States has repeatedly insisted on the need for regime change in the country. Washington is providing support to "moderate opposition groups" in the country, whom they accuse Russia of deliberately targeting. Many of the organizations within the "moderate opposition" are classified as "extremist" within Russia.

Shoigu again criticized the United States' classification of "moderate opposition", claiming that the groups were using suicide bombers.

Anti-regime forces have recently made gains in Aleppo, partly through the use of suicide bombers, Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported Saturday. Syrian government forces had earlier established humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave the area, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry labeled the move a potential “ruse” for a later assault on all anti-government forces remaining in Aleppo.    

“They [the "moderate opposition"] arm him with a mine, strap 200kg of explosives to him and he goes flying. Is that the moderate opposition that we are not letting leave the city [of Aleppo]? Who is it then?”, Shoigu said.

The Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front are terrorist organizations banned in Russia.

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