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    A general view taken from a government-held area in Damascus shows smoke rising from the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital following fresh air strikes and rocket fire on February 27, 2018

    US State Dept Spokesperson Says Astana Peace Process for Syria Has Failed

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Wednesday that the Astana peace process for Syria has failed and questioned Moscow's commitment to a ceasefire in the Damascus enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

    "Russia conducted 20 bombing missions in Damascus and Eastern Ghouta the week of February 24. Now, Russia is also using Syria to test SU-57 stealth fighter. So much for Russia’s commitment to the ceasefire, civilian safety, and humanitarian assistance. Astana has failed," Nauert said in a Twitter message.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow was fully complying with UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Syria but does not apply to terrorist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda and their affiliates. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, in his turn, has said that two advanced Su-57 fighter jets have returned home after a testing program in Syria.

    This is not the first time, the US State Department dubs the Astana process as "failure."

    Last month, the UNSC unanimously approved resolution 2401, which provides for the introduction of a ceasefire regime throughout Syria for a period of 30 days.

    The decision on the resolution came nearly two weeks after the escalation of the situation in Eastern Ghouta, following the launch of a military operation by the Syrian government forces, in a bid to clear the region of militants

    READ MORE: Russian Embassy Slams US State Dept. Statements on Astana Syrian Peace Process

    Despite the ceasefire, regime militants continued to shell Damascus, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that terrorists in Eastern Ghouta had been shelling Damascus around 50-80 times a day, including the region of Russia’s embassy.

    However, the US State Department instantly shifted the blame on Damascus, saying that the Syrian forces been conducting airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta, that had claimed lives of civilians.

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    US State Department in Geneva, Heather Nauert, Syria, Ghouta
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