The Russian defense ministry said Wednesday that the country’s military had launched airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The former Pennsylvania senator advocated for putting boots on the ground in Iraq, leaving Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to handle ISIS in Syria. The US and its western partners have called for Mr. Assad to step down during a transition to eventual free and fair elections.
Washington has been explicit in its disapproval of Russian involvement in Syria. There was no confirmation, however, if the USA actually did this. France announced at the weekend that it had launched its first air strikes in Syria.
There were strikes near Homs and in Hama province, and Moscow reported attacking eight Islamic State targets.
A Putin spokesperson revealed this month that the Russian president was considering sending troops to Syria, and the United States government said it was monitoring a Russian military build-up at an airport near Latakia. The strikes were trying to prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad, a Russian ally.
The primary goal of these talks will be to avoid any inadvertent incidents between USA and Russian forces.
He promised that the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria would “dramatically accelerate our efforts”.
According to the official, there were no conflicts with the Russian strikes, and they had no impact on the coalition missions, which are primarily in the north and east.
“Moreover, we have also made clear that we would have grave concerns should Russian Federation strike areas where ISIL and al-Qaida affiliated targets are not operating”, he said.
The first Russian operation in the Middle East in decades comes days after President Barack Obama and Putin exchanged blame over the Syrian crisis during and following their speeches at the United Nation General Assembly on Monday.
“We expect the details of those conversations, including the exact timing of those conversations, will be worked out in the coming day”, said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook at a press briefing.
In the last four years, the Syrian Civil War has taken the lives of more than 250,000 people.