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Lavrov Accuses US Allies of Releasing ISIS Detainees in Syria in Exchange for Payoffs

Lavrov Accuses US Allies of Releasing ISIS Detainees in Syria in Exchange for Payoffs

Saturday, 18 January, 2020 - 08:45
Acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaking at his annual round-up news conference in Moscow on January 17. (AP)
Moscow, London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused on Friday members of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of releasing ISIS detainees in exchange for payoffs.

"Some disturbing information has been received that the Syrian Democratic Forces are freeing militants in return for kickbacks, who begin to relocate to other parts of Syrian territory, and we are verifying these reports,” he said.

Speaking at his annual news conference in Moscow on January 17, Lavrov said the principal goal of defeating terrorism in Syria has been reached.

"There are about 10,000 fighters in camps controlled by the SDF, these are mainly Kurdish units,” he said, adding that Russia had warned the US about the need to keep an eye on SDF operations.

"We have long warned our American partners who hold sway over the Syrian Democratic Forces that it is essential to make sure that the militants who are being kept in custody in these prison camps do not escape," Lavrov said. "Unfortunately, there is a risk that this can happen."

The minister said efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis have reached an advanced stage, however, he explained that progress in economic reconstruction is not so tangible, because Western partners and some regional countries put forward preconditions.

The SDF dismissed Lavrov’s claims.

“The reports Lavrov spoke about are inaccurate. There is coordination between our forces and international parties, including the US and Russia, regarding the fate of ISIS detainees,” SDF commander Mazloum Abdi tweeted on Friday.

Meanwhile, the US sent on Friday logistic and troop reinforcements to its military bases in oil fields in the Syrian provinces of Hasakeh and Deir Ezzor.

The Syrian official SANA agency reported that a new convoy of 75 vehicles, carrying armored vehicles and logistic equipment, entered Syrian territory through an illegal border-crossing and headed for the oil and gas fields.

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