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Russian Foreign Ministry Says Al-Qaeda Behind Syrian Attacks

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

Russia has accused Al-Qaeda of staging the string of deadly bombings that have recently struck Syria's largest cities.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on May 14 it was "absolutely clear" that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, the latest of which killed 55 people last week outside a government security building in Damascus.

A previously unknown Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the dissident Free Syrian Army accuses President Bashar al-Assad's government of using links to Al-Qaeda to discredit rebel groups.

Gatilov also criticized Western powers for supporting the Syrian opposition and warned of an escalation of violence in the country.

Russia, which traditionally enjoys close ties with Syria, has vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions aimed at sanctioning Assad for his use of force against civilians.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax