Russia shifts military focus in Syria to al-Qaeda-linked group

MOSCOW (dpa)- Russia has shifted its focus in Syria to rooting out an al-Qaeda-linked group, following the defeat of the Islamic State extremist group in the war-torn country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"The main anti-terrorist objective is the defeat of Jabhat al-Nusra," Lavrov said in comments carried by the TASS state news agency, using the previous name of the group now called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.

The group has been a major force against Russia's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in that country's bloody, multi-sided civil war.
"The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing Jabhat al-Nusra members out of the country with our support," Lavrov said in a meeting with Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba.
"In particular, they are still resisting, as far as we know, because they have been receiving assistance from abroad," Lavrov said.

Wednesday, December 27th 2017

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