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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

(reuters_tickers)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the United States, despite denying setting up local forces in northern Syria, is trying to form "alternative bodies of authority" that contradict a commitment to Syrian territorial integrity.

"The U.S. are trying to form ... alternative bodies of authority on vast ... parts of the Syrian territory," Lavrov, speaking through an interpreter, said in a news conference at the United Nations.

"That is a fact and that does contradict their own obligations ... to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by David Alexander)

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Reuters