The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel-Rahman, confirmed the latest strikes, saying he believed they had been launched by Russian jets. Moscow is a long-standing ally of the Assad family, with Washington tired that Putin is using the cover of attacks on the Islamic State as a pretext for hitting the president’s opponents.
“Fighting ISIL without pursuing a parallel political transition only risks escalating civil war in Syria”, Carter said.
Lavrov also slammed criticism of Russia’s military strikes in Syria, remarking that the British and French had said they targeted areas where “people were contemplating bad things on our territory … no proof, no nothing”.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement supporting Russian airstrikes against “terrorist groups” in Syria.
Addressing the lower house of Parliament, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said Thursday: “I am looking with a deep distrust at the Russian military engagement in the area”, adding that airstrikes alone “solve nothing”. They would also be backed by Assad’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies and by Shia militia fighters from Iraq, while the Russians would provide air support.
Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and “other terrorist groups” in Syria.
More than 50 Russian aircraft and helicopters are part of the group conducting airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria, Konashenkov said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Kerry said the Russian warning was ignored and U.S. air strikes continued on Wednesday. “The same holds true for the activities of Russian Federation,” he said.
“We have the same approach: it’s ISIL, Al-Nusra and other terrorist groups,” he said.
Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, said Wednesday that “the operation’s target is exclusively air support for the Syrian government forces in their fight against the ISIS”.
It reported that Alexandre Orlov dismissed allegations civilians were killed in the strikes, telling France Info radio that “there has been a certain war of disinformation for a few time” and insisting Russian Federation was “acting transparently”.
Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese Shia group, has been fighting alongside the Syrian army since early in the conflict.