Russia accuses US of justifying terrorism in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States on Wednesday of justifying terrorism against the Syrian government and berated Western nations he said had not condemned attacks that killed top members of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s inner circle.

Referring to what he said were comments by US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland indicating such attacks were not surprising given the Syrian government’s conduct, Lavrov said, “This is a direct justification of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian army turned its forces on Aleppo on Wednesday, ordering an armored column to advance on the country’s second biggest city and pounding rebel fighters there with artillery and attack helicopters, opposition activists said.

As hostilities intensified near the Turkish border, Turkey said it was closing its crossing posts, although the United Nations said refugees fleeing Syria would be allowed through.

Two top Syrian diplomats, in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus, have deserted their posts, becoming the latest officials to abandon the Damascus government, rebels said.

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