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NATO chief says Russia must stop bombing rebel groups for peace to work
February 12, 2016 / 1:16 PM / in 2 years

NATO chief says Russia must stop bombing rebel groups for peace to work

MUNICH (Reuters) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of undermining efforts to reach a peaceful solution in Syria by targeting opposition groups instead of Islamic State militants and said a lasting peace would only be achieved if this stopped.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman

“Russia has mainly targeted opposition groups and not ISIL (Islamic State militants). Air strikes of Russian planes against different opposition groups in Syria have actually undermined the efforts to reach a negotiated, peaceful solution,” he said.

His comments came after major powers, including Russia, reached agreement on plans for a ceasefire between rebels and government forces in Syria, although Moscow has said it will continue bombing militants.

“What we need is a lasting ceasefire, we need help for the civilians and we need of course an agreement on transition,” Stoltenberg added.

Reporting By Robin Emmott; Writing by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Noah Barkin

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