Russian Federation on Thursday insisted its warplanes in Syria were hitting at the same terrorists targeted by the United States and contradicted American criticism that its military failed to coordinate the airstrikes, describing the allegations as a “war of disinformation”.
Reports said at least one group, labelled as “Syrian opposition fighters”, who had been trained by the Central Intelligence Agency, were hit in the attacks.
Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be a “retrograde step” if the Russians hit moderate opposition forces like the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.
Meanwhile, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said airstrikes near the city of Homs indicate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true intentions are to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In Moscow, Mr Putin said the air strikes would be limited and he hoped President Assad was ready for political reform for the sake of his people.
“We must not and will not be confused in our fight against ISIL with support for Assad”, Mr Kerry said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
But he said if Russian Federation was genuinely committed to fighting Islamic State, “we are prepared to welcome those efforts and to find a way to deconflict our operations and thereby multiply the military pressure on ISIL and affiliated groups”. The fact that they have not chose to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIL effort, means that Russia’s not doing exactly what we would like them to do in Syria, and that’s not unusual in the relationship between our two countries.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Russia’s…
He listed countries with a key role to play in resolving the chaos in Syria, including Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the USA and China.
The Pentagon on Wednesday called Russia’s airstrikes in Syria “contradictory” to their position of fighting extremism in Syria.
U.S. and Russian foreign ministers have met to try and paper over the diplomatic cracks following the launch of Russia’s air raids in Syria.
Syrians living in rebel-held areas of Homs province said the violence unleashed by the Russian Air Force unleashed a whole new level of devastation on their towns.
The Russian parliament voted in favour of military intervention in the country yesterday after receiving a request for assistance from President Bashar Assad. The U.S. says it was informed an hour before they took place.
“These organizations are well known and the targets are chose in coordination with the armed forces of Syria,” he said, without giving specific names.
Russian military action would not be open-ended, he added, declining to say which aircraft would be used and when.
“They gave us a heads-up they were going to start striking in Syria”, a US Defence official said.
“Those who truly wish to combat terrorism must coordinate actions with the Syrian government,” he said.