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US Denies Downplaying Syrian Rebel Ceasefire Violations

© REUTERS / Khalil AshawiA rebel fighter stands near a Turkish tank as it fires towards Guzhe village, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria October 17, 2016
A rebel fighter stands near a Turkish tank as it fires towards Guzhe village, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria October 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The United States denies downplaying Syrian rebel violations of the ceasefire and abuse of civilians trying to leave Aleppo, Department of State spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Kirby acknowledged seeing troubling reports of US-backed rebels abusing Syrians trying to leave Aleppo, but claimed the depredations did not compare to atrocities committed by the Syrian government backed by Russia.

Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry their national flags and gesture as they tour the streets in celebration of what they say is the Syrian army's victory against the rebels in Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2016 - Sputnik International
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“I absolutely, fundamentally reject your assertion that we [the United States] downplayed actions by opposition forces,” Kirby stated on Wednesday when asked rebel abuses in Aleppo. “I have for many times… talked about concerns we’ve had in the past about certain opposition groups and opposition members not abiding by the cessation of hostilities.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed in calls with Russian and Turkish officials earlier in the day the need to establish humanitarian corridors to allow safe passage for residents of Aleppo, Kirby noted.

In recent months, Aleppo became a major battleground in Syria between government forces and militants. The Russian reconciliation center said that the Syrian government army was controlling over 98 percent of the territory of Aleppo, with militants present in less than 3 square kilometers (1.1 square mile).

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