DoD Sec. Carter: Russian Federation airstrikes in Syria ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’

The United States has repeatedly stressed the urgent need for Russian Federation to communicate with it about when and where it plans to fly its fighter jets and bombers.


Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain spoke on Thursday, claiming Russia’s military had attacked CIA-backed groups hostile to Assad.

More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes, four million of them overseas, as forces loyal to President Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from IS and other groups.

Russia says it has begun air strikes in order to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and when pressed, Russian spokesmen say the US-led war has failed.

He told CNN: “I can absolutely confirm to you that they were strikes against our Free Syrian Army, or groups that have been armed and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency, because we have communications with people there”.

Opposition forces in that region, he added, were primarily the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and rebel factions other than Islamic State.

“The Russian Ministry of Defence presented a full report on what was hit and what was the targets”.

On Wednesday, however, Sergei Ivanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, said “the operation’s target is exclusively air support for the Syrian government forces in their fight against the ISIS”, using another acronym for the group.

“We certainly are not going to plunge head-on into this conflict,” he said.

The Russian defense ministry said late Wednesday that Russia carried out 20 airstrikes.

USA officials are also concerned the airstrikes would worsen the humanitarian crisis by killing civilians and prolong the war by bolstering Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite US calls for him to go.

The official requested that U.S. aircraft – who have been mounting their own attacks on IS in Syria – should stay away from Syrian air space while the Russian airstrikes were under way.

“We indeed are interested in cooperation with the coalition“, Lavrov said. He actually charged that the first reports of civilians being hit came out even before Russia’s jets took off. So this has been an ongoing theme among Russian officials over the past couple of years. The claim could not be independently verified.


But the strikes were already underway, potentially altering the balance of power in Syria back in favor of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Washington was looking at a fait accompli.

One day into military campaign, Russia's intentions remain unclear