The US and Russian Federation agree on the need to fight the Islamic State but not about what to do with President Bashar Assad.
One of the airstrikes hit an area primarily held by rebels backed by the Central Intelligence Agency and allied spy services, USA officials said, catapulting the Syrian crisis to a new level of danger and uncertainty.
Russia’s defense minister said in a televised report that Russian aircraft had hit a dozen Islamic State targets, including a command center and two ammunition depots. Officials acknowledged, however, that other unidentified groups were being targeted as well.
At the same time, Lavrov said that the legal basis for USA coalition flying air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria was “really flawed”. The British group said Tajamu Alezzah was also targeted Wednesday.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said local Syrian sources said the airstrikes targeted rebel positions, including the headquarters of the Free Syrian Army-affiliated, Western-backed al-Izza group.
Speaking from the United Nations gathering of world leaders, he said the USA and Russian Federation “have the same approach” and defended his country’s support for the Syrian government, asking how it could be left out of such a fight in its own country.
The decision followed weeks of military buildup by Russian Federation in Syrian government-controlled territory.
The US defense chief also said the Obama administration was open to holding direct talks with the Russians on “deconflicting” their military operations in Syria, or arranging ways to avoid firing upon each other or creating unintended incidents in the air.
An alliance of opposition groups, including the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, made rapid gains in Idlib province earlier this year, completely expelling the government from the area bordering Turkey.
At this point, there has been little coordination between Russian Federation and U.S.-led forces.
France and Russian Federation both oppose the IS extremists, but differ on the proposed fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time ally of Moscow who Paris would like to see removed from power as soon as possible.
With American and allied airstrikes daily, and now Russian warplanes in the Syrian airspace, the war is taking on a risky new dimension.
“No, we did not”, a USA official said afterward.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the report.
It really adds to that idea the Russian intervention in Syria is not simply about destroying ISIS.