Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sought to soften disagreements with the United States over the air campaign in Syria, saying Moscow sees “eye to eye” with the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State when it comes to identifying terrorists.
The air strikes hit the district of Jabal al Zawiya, in an area under the control of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and other rebel groups, said the Britain-based monitor.
USA officials have questioned whether Russia’s airstrikes – in the name of defeating ISIS – were genuinely targeting the group or instead a cover to shore up Syrian President Bashar Assad by striking anti-government rebel groups.
With regard to the targets, Lavrov remarked, Russian Federation has “the same approach” as the broader coalition against “ISIL, Al Nusra, and other terrorist groups”.
He said this position was the same as the US-led coalition which has been carrying out air strikes in Iraq and Syria for several months.
The United States and Russian Federation have clashed on how to resolve the bloody conflict in Syria that has claimed more than 250,000 lives and displaced 11 million people, sending four million migrants and refugees to Europe in the worst such crisis since the second World War.
More than 50 planes and helicopters are involved in the Russian military operation in Syria, Russia’s defence ministry said.
The USA and Russian Federation agree on the need to fight the Islamic State but not about what to do with President Bashar Assad.
“We are ready for such information attacks”, he said in a live broadcast from the Kremlin.
Just hours after the Russian parliament waved through military intervention in Syria, its first air strikes in the civil war-torn Middle Eastern country were confirmed Wednesday night.
A US official also told The Hill on background, “They appear to be targeting Syrian opposition, definitely not ISIL”.
Asked whether Russian Federation planned to expand airstrikes into Iraq, Lavrov said it didn’t.
Syrian military provides intelligence on prospective targets for Russian forces in Syria, which is double-checked before clearance is given to deliver a strike, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.