WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has communicated to the Syrian opposition that it must clearly separate itself from al-Nusra Front in Aleppo, US Department of State spokesperson Mark Toner said in a briefing on Thursday.
"In Aleppo, there are areas controlled by the opposition and there are areas held by al-Nusra," Toner stated. "And that’s our challenge, in part to make sure those lines are more clearly delineated, and we have conveyed that to the opposition."
Al-Nusra Front, Toner noted, is not party to the cessation of hostilities in Syria, but the United States believes that President Bashar Assad’s government is using the group’s presence in Aleppo as an excuse to attack opposition forces.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sputnik that US officials attempted to draw the lines in the new ceasefire accord in a way that would include al-Nusra Front, leading Moscow to believe that someone was using Washington to protect the terrorist group.
Lavrov also told Sputnik that the Turkish government had links to both the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, also known as Daesh.
Al-Nusra Front and Daesh are designated as terrorist organizations by Russia and the United States, and have been excluded from all previous Syrian ceasefire deals brokered by the two countries.