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    This Oct. 23, 2017 aerial photo shows the thin strip of coral atolls separating the ocean from the lagoon in Majuro, Marshall Islands

    US Praises Marshall Islands For De-Flagging Ships Used by Damascus - State Dept

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States commends the Marshall Islands for de-flagging ships used by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a Twitter statement on Monday.

    "The United States applauds the Republic of the Marshall Islands for de-flagging ships that are using their flag to support the Assad regime and terrorism,' Palladino said. "The Marshall Islands is a key partner in ensuring maritime security around the world."

    READ MORE: US-Backed SDF Launches Op to Clear Last Daesh-Held Pockets in Syria — Reports

    Syria has been in a state of conflict since 2011, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations. Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, is a guarantor of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria, while it also provides humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians and is actively engaged in dialogue on settlement to the Syrian crisis.

    The United States and its allies have repeatedly stated that they do not consider a Syrian settlement possible if Assad remains in power. Russia has supported the legitimate government of the Syrian president, repeatedly stressing that only the Syrian people should decide the fate of Assad.

    The US-led coalition of more than 70 members has been conducting military operations against the Islamic State (IS, or Daesh banned in Russia) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq since September 2014. The coalition’s activities in Syria are authorized neither by the Syrian government, nor by the UN Security Council.

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