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Putin says Syrian army honouring truce, rebels 'regrouping'

AFP , Saturday 17 Sep 2016
Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation on September 15, 2016, ahead of September 18 parliamentary elections. (AFP PHOTO)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Moscow is holding to its part of the Syria agreement, but accused the rebels of using it to "regroup" and called for more transparency from Washington.

"We see attempts to regroup among these terrorists, to switch one label for another, one name for another and keep their military capacity," he said in televised remarks while on a trip to Kyrgyzstan.

"This is what we are seeing and that is sad," he added, saying Washington is facing a "rather difficult problem... to separate the opposition (to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) from terrorists."

He said Washington apparently "has the desire to keep the capabilities to fight the lawful government of President Assad," calling it a "very dangerous path."

"I would like us to be honest with one another and that is how we can move toward our mutual goals (to fight terrorism and achieve peace in Syria)," he said.

"I don't really understand why we have to hide any agreements, but we will of course refrain from revealing any details until our American partners agree to this," he said.

Russia accused the United States of refusing to share details of the closed-door agreement on Syria with the UN Security Council Friday, which had to cancel its urgent meeting that was supposed to endorse the deal.

"They don't want to make it public because the world community... will understand who is really not abiding to what," Putin said of the deal, in reference to "regrouping" rebels.

Putin said he remained "positive rather than negative" on the deal, which has also been tested by air strikes and clashes amid accusations that Bashar al-Assad's forces are blocking aid from reaching the ravaged central city of Aleppo.

The Russian president insisted Moscow is adhering to its part of the agreement.

"As for Russia, it is fully honouring its obligations," he said, adding Moscow reached relevant agreements with regime forces.

"We have reached agreements with the president (of Syria), with the government of Syria. As we see, Syrian forces are fully abiding by these agreements."

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