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Russia's Putin calls US Secretary of State Kerry a liar for denying al-Qaida group in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a liar for denying that al-Qaida was fighting with the Syrian opposition in that country's civil war.

Speaking Wednesday to his human rights council, Putin recalled watching a congressional debate where Kerry was asked about al-Qaida and denied that it was operating in Syria, even though he was aware of the al-Qaida-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."

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