Russian Federation earlier this week announced its decision to launch strikes on Syria, in a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in a more than four-year-old civil war.
A joint statement by France, Turkey, the United States, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Britain expressed concern that Russia’s actions will “only fuel more extremism and radicalization.”.
Moscow insists it has only targeted the IS group, but Washington and others suspect it has largely hit mainly Western-backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, with monitoring groups saying civilians have been killed.
Two children were among at least seven civilians killed in air strikes carried out by Russian warplanes in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, a monitoring group said today, citing witnesses.
He said the “vast majority” of strikes since Russian president Vladimir Putin began the action had not been aimed at IS jihadists but were instead “killing civilians” and the Free Syrian forces rebelling against Assad’s regime.
The Observatory’s head, Rami Abdulrahman, said one of the targets hit in the latest Russian air strikes, the town of Dar Tazzah in northwestern Aleppo province, was controlled by a number of insurgent groups including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
The Pentagon on Thursday had its first conversation with Russian officials in an effort to avoid any unintended U.S.-Russian confrontations as the airstrikes continue in the skies over Syria.
“We’re analysing where the strikes are going every morning”, he told the paper.
“I said to Mr Putin that I’d be prepared to work with him if he is willing to broker with his partners, Mr Assad and Iran, a political transition”, Obama said.
“Terrorism can not be fought only from the air, and all of the previous operations to combat it have only served its spread and outbreak”, he said.
Obama said that, contrary to a few media reports, Putin is acting not out of strength but out of “weakness”, because he fears seeing the defeat of Russia’s top Middle East ally.
They also hit a training camp and weapons depot in Maarat al-Numaan, and weapons and ammunitions stores in Jisr al-Shughour.
“The Americans told us during discussions that no one apart from terrorists were in that region”, Kartapolov said, referring to the area where Russia’s Air Force was active, according to Interfax.
The British PM – speaking from his Oxfordshire constituency ahead of the ruling Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester – said Russia’s military intervention was “really making the situation worse”.