Russia wants talks with the US military to ensure their forces do not come into conflict as it continues its build-up in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday, AFP reports.
The United States is no longer the only “sheriff in town”, as Russia and other military powers are beginning to challenge US policies in Syria, says a political activist and journalist in New York. A U.S. official, who confirmed the information, said the system may be part of a Russian effort to bolster defences at an airfield near Latakia, an Assad stronghold.
Assad said Turkish support had been crucial to the growth of two of the biggest insurgent groups in Syria, ISIS and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and that aerial bombing by a US-led coalition has failed to stop ISIS.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged continued military support for President Assad and has urged other countries to join Russia in sending military-technical assistance.
Assad’s remarks struck a far more confident tone than a speech he gave in July in which he acknowledged military defeats because of manpower problems in his military.
Kerry said he warned Lavrov about Moscow’s increased involvement in Syria.
In the interview, Assad described Russia as an impartial intermediary among Syrian groups, a characterization many of his foes would strongly deny, given Russia’s support for him.
Earnest said the administration’s stance on Russia’s moves in Syria remains the same as it was last week when Obama told US troops that a strategy to prop up Assad is “doomed to failure”.
Washington has expressed concern about Moscow’s growing military support for the Syrian regime, even as it conducts its own air strikes against Islamic State rebels in the country.
Washington views Assad as a pariah who shoulders the blame for driving Syria into a civil war that has killed 240,000 people and displaced four million.
Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, told the newspaper that during UN Security Council talks in February 2012 the Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin tabled a proposal to have Assad step aside after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition.
“Why are the Americans fighting ISIL with their fighter jets and the Russians should be forbidden from that?”
“Those refugees left Syria because of the terrorism, mainly because of the terrorists and because of the killing, and second because of the results of terrorism“, said the embattled leader.