Russia fires back after Syrian rebel’s criticism

BEIRUT (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says a Syrian rebel leader’s remarks concerning a humanitarian pause raise questions about the insurgents’ sincerity in honoring a U.N. cease-fire resolution.

Mohammed Alloush, head of the largest insurgent group in eastern Ghouta, argued that a daily humanitarian pause introduced by Russia is aimed at displacing civilians rather than protecting them.

Speaking after talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Lavrov countered by saying that the U.N. resolution specifically calls on all combatants not to put any obstacles in the way of those seeking to leave besieged areas.

No civilians have left eastern Ghouta since the humanitarian pause began Tuesday. Russia accuses the insurgents of preventing people from leaving, allegations denied by the rebels.