Putin calls Kerry a liar about al-Qaeda in Syria
search

Putin calls Kerry a liar about al-Qaeda in Syria

Russian president claims US secretary of state denied Islamist terrorist group’s presence among rebels fighting Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview earlier this month, ahead of the G-20 conference (photo credit: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview earlier this month, ahead of the G-20 conference (photo credit: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called US Secretary of State John Kerry a liar, claiming he had denied that al-Qaeda was fighting with the Syrian opposition in that country’s civil war.

Speaking to his human rights council, Putin recalled watching a congressional debate where Kerry was asked about al-Qaeda. Putin said he had denied that it was operating in Syria, even though he was aware of the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group.

Putin said: “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans) and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”

It was unclear exactly what Putin was referencing, but Kerry was asked Tuesday while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if the Syrian opposition had become more infiltrated by al-Qaeda.

Kerry responded that that was “basically incorrect” and that the opposition has “increasingly become more defined by its moderation.”

When asked if a strike would make al-Nusra and other extremist forces stronger, Kerry responded, “No, I don’t believe you do (make them stronger). As a matter of fact, I think you actually make the opposition stronger. And the opposition is getting stronger by the day now.”

In testimony Wednesday, Kerry said that he didn’t agree that “a majority (of the opposition) are al-Qaeda and the bad guys.” Extremists amount to 15 to 25 percent of the opposition, he said, including al-Nusra and many other groups that are “fighting each other, even now.”

Putin also repeated Russia’s position that any use of military force against Syria without the approval of the UN Security Council would be an act of aggression.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments