NATO: Russia's support for Assad undermining Syrian peace talks

Russia's intensification of air strikes in Syria is damaging to peace talks in Geneva that the US-alliance strongly supports, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
"The intense Russia air strikes, mainly targeting opposition groups in Syria, is undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict," Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for an EU defense ministers meeting in Amsterdam.
"The increased Russia presence, the air activity in Syria, is also causing increased tensions and violations of Turkish airspace ... violations of NATO airspace," he said. "This creates risks."
Backed by Russian assaults, the Syrian army and its allies made significant advances against insurgents in the northern province of Aleppo in recent days.
The Kremlin quickly issued a response on Friday, saying that Russia is not eschewing political or diplomatic ways to settle the conflict in Syria while making clear it would continue providing military assistance to the Assad regime.
"Russia is consistently making efforts within the general international framework of seeking a peaceful and political settlement to the situation in Syria," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a teleconference with journalists.
"At the same time, Russia is providing support to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic in its fight against terror," he said.
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