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Russia accuses U.S. of backing Syrian rebels who use poison gas on civilians

Russia’s foreign ministry sharply criticized U.S. behavior in Syria on Thursday, accusing Washington of backing rebels who use poison gas against civilians and of killing hundreds in air strikes.

The ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, referred to rebels supported by Washington as “animals” and said Washington and its allies were recklessly carrying out air attacks leading to numerous civilian deaths.

Zakharova’s strong comments, in a statement posted to social media, underscored the serious divisions between Moscow and Washington over Syria where they are united in their opposition to Islamic State but so far little else.

Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad and his forces, while Washington supports rebel groups fighting both his government and Islamic State militants. While the two countries argue over a possible peace plan, a battle for eastern Aleppo has erupted.

Zakharova spoke out as the…

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