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Russia Asks UN for Sanctions on 2 Syrian Rebel Groups

FILE - A Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) brigade fighter prepares to launch rockets toward forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad located beside Damascus International airport, from the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Feb. 24, 2015.

Russia is asking the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on two Syrian rebel groups, one of which has been heavily involved in peace talks.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin on Tuesday accused Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham of being "closely connected" to Islamic State and al-Qaida.

Jaish al-Islam is a top member of the Western- and Arab-backed High Negotiations Committee, which the U.N. set up last year to try to work out a political solution to the Syrian civil war.

A senior member of Jaish al-Islam told the French news agency AFP that it was actually Russia that was responsible for terrorism in Syria, with its airstrikes on rebels and ties to President Bashar al-Assad.

The other rebel group named by Russia, Ahrar al-Sham, is one of Syria's strongest Islamist groups and is aligned with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

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