BEIRUT: Russia voiced concern Friday over the security of a chemical arms storage facility in central Syria, warning that clashes between Islamist fighters and regime forces were taking place only meters from the sensitive site.
“According to information coming from Syria, there are ongoing clashes between government forces and fighters from Nusra Front and Islamic Army in the Sukkara area, Homs province, literally 100 meters away from the chemical site where chemical agents destined to be shipped out of Syria and later destroyed are stockpiled,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
The ministry said that Moscow strongly condemned these “provocative acts,” which it said aimed at derailing a plan for shipping the chemical stockpile within the set deadline.
It also called on countries with influence on the armed Syrian opposition to press for the “creation of favorable conditions” to implement the plan.
The Islamic Army is an integral part of the Islamic Front, the ministry said.
“Some of our partners believed it [the Islamic Army] was a moderate force that could be included in the Geneva 2 conference,” the ministry’s statement said.
“[But] its participating in the ranks of Nusra Front jihadists against government forces near the chemical sites in Homs give, in our opinion, strong evidence what these ‘moderate’ Islamists are representing,” it added.