A French diplomatic said Russian airstrikes were aimed at supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by targeting opposition groups rather than ISIS militants.
Speaking at the United Nations, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the USA had “grave concerns” over reports that Russia’s military hit targets free of Islamic State fighters.
While Russian officials say they bombed at least four ISIS targets including “headquarters and coordination centers in the mountains”, USA officials are concerned that is not the case and that Russia is targeting other militants, a few of which could be U.S.-backed.
“It appears that we have stepped back in time”, said Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Asked directly if the coalition would protect the U.S.-trained or aligned groups, Carter did not answer.
Worse yet, Hammond concluded, any vestiges of a moderate resistance to Assad’s regime could be driven into Islamic State camps, should Russia’s strikes continue to leave those camps unscathed.
Control of Homs province is mostly divided between Syria’s regime and IS, which holds the famed city of Palmyra and much of the area east of it.
“The Russians struck northern Homs today and killed 36 innocent people…who fought against extremism”, said Khaled Khoja, head of the National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups.
He added that more formal talks with the Russians should get under way “within days”.
On Wednesday morning, Russia’s rubber stamp parliament voted unanimously to give President Vladimir Putin authorization for the airstrikes in Syria.
“Lets see what eventuates from these discussions,” he said. Assad’s opponents in the brutal civil war include rebel groups that oppose both him and Islamic State and that are supported by the United States and other Western countries.
“Putin has this opening because of the absence of any USA strategy in Syria“, Cotton said. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend, to a few degree,” he said.
POLITICO reported earlier Wednesday that, according to the Pentagon, the Russians have not been as forthcoming about their operations as promised.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris would only support the proposal if three conditions were met. He said Russian Federation needed to state clearly who the enemy was, push Assad to stop indiscriminate barrel bombing of civilians, and make clear that Assad would not be in government after a political transition.