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Russia Says Syrian Talks Blocked As U.S. Declines To Battle Al-Qaeda Group

Russia has charged that U.S. reluctance to do more to combat Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate remains an obstacle to reaching agreement to cooperate in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned on August 23 that the U.S. failure to move against the Al-Nusra Front, recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, risks creating a "new terrorist monster in Syria."

Russia's accusations came one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said U.S.- Russian talks on finding avenues to cooperate in Syria are nearing an end.

Al-Sham has been one of the most effective rebel groups fighting the Russia-backed Syrian regime, and it has ties to other rebel groups supported by the United States.

"Washington agrees that Al-Nusra a terrorist organization. But it has not been the target of strikes" carried out by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria, the Russian ministry said.

"It has been nearly a year in which the Americans have refused to share with us their data on the location of Al-Nusra militants," it said.

"Instead of taking practical steps, the Americans have made any intensification in their fight [against Al-Nusra] conditional on promises of [regime] change," it said.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS