Islamic State Closes In On Syrian City Of Aleppo

Seeking to underline the dangers, United States officials said four Russian cruise missiles fired from a warship in the Caspian Sea had crashed in Iran, which drew a swift denial from Russia.

Advertisement

The US has vowed not to engage in any meetings with Russian Federation until Moscow responded with a written response to the draft. One official said the USA wasn’t able to detect any casualties or damage from the errant strikes, suggesting they may have fallen harmlessly in Iran.

Russia’s defence ministry denied the claim made by the US.

“The attack showcased Russia’s advanced military capabilities and closer coordination with the governments of Iran and Iraq, whose airspace the missiles traversed before striking targets in Syria held by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda”. On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that the 26 missiles their four ships had fired all hit their targets, missing all civilian areas.

Syrian state television said in a newsflash that attacks carried out by government forces in the area had killed and wounded a number of “terrorists”, a term it uses to describe all insurgents in Syria.

This comes after Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned North Atlantic Treaty Organisation about Russia’s “increasingly unprofessional behavior” following an unannounced Russian missile launch into Syria that entered Turkish airspace.

The comments, which were published Thursday in the Hurriyet newspaper, come amid tensions with Russia over airstrikes which Turkey and allies say have mainly targeted moderate Syrian opposition groups and over the Russian warplanes’ violation of Turkey’s air space. As Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty noted, Hamedani’s boasts that Iran had created “a second Hezbollah” and that Iran’s efforts meant the Assad regime in Syria was no longer “at the risk of collapse” were also removed.

The USA secretary of state, John Kerry, had a 30-minute telephone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to express concern that Russia’s targets in Syria were not related to Islamic State.

Advertisement

The Pentagon said it was “pausing” its own programme to train rebel groups to fight Isil, and would instead focus on equipping and providing direct air support to approved groups.

Careful now.    Reuters  Eric Vidal