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Russia Wants Syria Talks to Agree on List of Terrorist Groups

  • VOA News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, listens as U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Nov. 4, 2015.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, listens as U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Nov. 4, 2015.

Moscow wants a second round of talks on Syria to come to an agreement on a list of terrorist groups operating in the country.

Speaking Tuesday in Sochi, Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called such a list necessary "so that no one has any doubt in regard to the orientation of one or another armed group" in Syria.

Russia's Tass state news agency reported Lavrov added it would be "impossible" to move forward without "full clarity on this issue."

He said when a cease-fire is declared with the start of a political process "the cease-fire agreement will not apply to terrorist organizations, which continue to be considered legitimate targets."

The second round of talks is scheduled for Saturday in Vienna.

The United States and other Western countries have been conducting airstrikes targeting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syrian and Iraq. While Moscow claims its own air campaign in Syria is directed against IS, Washington says 85-90 percent of Russian airstrikes in Syria since last month have hit the moderate Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

France's Defense Ministry said French fighter jets struck IS oil facilities Tuesday in eastern Syria.

Diplomats from 17 countries, plus the United Nations and European Union, met in Vienna on October 30 for a first round of talks on Syria. They agreed to a U.N.-led process involving talks between the Syrian government and opposition, and also to explore a cease-fire that would still allow strikes against terrorist groups.

At least 22 people were killed Tuesday in a rebel attack in the coastal city of Latakia, a Syrian government bastion. Russian combat aircraft operate out of a base outside the city.

Meanwhile, Syrian state media reported government forces had broken a two-year IS siege of a military airport near the northern city of Aleppo.

Some information is from Reuters and AFP.

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