MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern Thursday over reports that a powerful Islamist group had taken control of arms depots in northern Syria.
According to Western media reports, the recently created Islamic Front, which includes the biggest Islamist factions in Syria, had captured more than 10 large warehouses storing non-lethal supplies and military equipment as well as the headquarters of the opposition Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council in the town of Atme.
The seizure prompted the United States and Britain to suspend supplies of non-lethal aid to Free Syrian Army units operating in northern Syria.
“These developments cause concern, especially in the context of the preparation for the Geneva-2 peace conference,” the ministry said.
The Islamic Front, which numbers tens of thousands of fighters, announced on November 22 its withdrawal from the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council headed by General Selim Idriss and called for the establishment of an Islamist state in Syria based on sharia laws.
The Islamists also refused to take part in the Geneva-2 conference, the first direct talks between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition since the civil war in Syria began nearly three years ago.
Russia has repeatedly warned the US and its Western allies about the danger of providing the Syrian rebels with supplies that could eventually fall into the wrong hands. According to reports, the supplies seized by the Islamist fighters in Atme included armored vehicles, night-vision equipment and advanced communications devices.
The civil war in Syria has so far killed more than 100,000 people and displaced at least 9 million, according to UN estimates.