Meanwhile, France said it was “curious” that Russian airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday had not targeted ISIS militants and a diplomatic source added that Moscow’s action appeared aimed at supporting President Bashar al-Assad against other opposition groups in the country’s civil war.
New details have emerged about the success of Syrian and Russian combat aviation to destroy underground bunkers of Islamic State terrorist group.
The airstrikes drew sharp rebuke from the United States and further raised tensions in the region.
The Pentagon called Russia’s airstrikes “contradictory” to their position of fighting extremism in Syria despite Moscow’s insistence that the air raids were against the Islamic State (IS) targets, Xinhua reported.
Activists in Syria and a U.K.-based monitoring group with extensive contacts on the ground said Thursday’s strikes had focused on Idlib province, and targeted a coalition of Islamic extremist groups which includes al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, al Nusra Front.
“Talk began that civilians were hurt by air strikes”.
A Syrian rebel commander, backed by the USA, told CBS News the Russians will be treated as “occupiers”. With the knowledge that the Russians are targeting the Free Syrian Army rather than ISIS, there is no doubt that Putin’s ultimate goal is to aid the brutal Assad regime and establish a beachhead in the Middle East.
Defense Minister Igor Konashenkov said Russian aircraft damaged or destroyed 12 targets in Syria belonging to the Islamic State group including a command center and two ammunition dumps.
Russian involvement in the 4.5-year-old conflict that has claimed a few 250,000 lives was being seen as a victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who invited the Russians to join his battle to cling on to power, and a defeat for the United States, which has demanded he step down.
Putin and other officials have said Russian Federation was providing weapons and training to Assad’s army to help it combat IS.
The opposition leader went on to say that 36 Syrian civilians had been killed by the Russian airstrikes.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “These organisations (on the target list) are well-known and the targets are chosen in coordination with the armed forces of Syria”.