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Russia accuses US, opposition of hampering Syrian troops' advance

Moscow, Sep 19 (IANS) The Russian Defence Ministry on Tuesday accused the US and the Syrian opposition of trying to hamper the successful advance of the Syrian government troops against the Islamic State.

“The closer the end of IS in Syria, the more evident it becomes who is really fighting the IS and who has been imitating this fight in the last three years,” the ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

He said the advancing Syrian government troops supported by the Russian Air Force managed to break the fierce resistance and liberate more than 60 square km of territory on the left bank of the Euphrates River in the last 24 hours.

But their advance was hampered by a sudden rise of the water level in the Euphrates and a two-fold increase in the speed of its current after the government troops started crossing the river, Konashenkov said.

In the absence of precipitation, the only source of such changes in the water level could be a man-made discharge of water at the dams north of the Euphrates, which are held by the opposition formations controlled by the international coalition led by the US, he said.

In addition, according to reports of Syrian commanders from the front line, the most serious counter-attacks and massive fire on the Syrian troops were coming from the northern direction, where the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS) and US Special Forces units operated, Konashenkov added.

The US has been recently heavily backing the Kurdish-led SDS in their push to capture Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS in Syria.

“If the international coalition headed by the US is unwilling to fight terrorism in Syria, let it at least abstain from creating obstacles to those who do it continuously and efficiently,” he said.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that Washington is seeking a de-escalation of the ongoing conflict in Syria and “a political solution that honours the will of the Syrian people.”

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