Over 90% Russian airstrikes in Syria have not targeted terrorists: US


WASHINGTON: Most of the Russian air strikes in Syria have been aimed at moderate Syrian opposition rather than targeting the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, the US State Department said  on Wednesday.

‘Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against IS or al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists,’ said Spokesman US State Department John Kirby.

‘They’ve been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don’t want to see the Assad regime stay in power.’

For the first time America has presented any specific figures about the impact of the Russian airstrikes in the war-torn country.

The accusation came after Moscow ramped up its bombardments in Syria.

Washington, which supports the moderate Syrian opposition, has consistently said that the Russian action will only add more fuel to the fire and will benefit the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

‘So whether they’re hit by a cruise missile from the sea or a bomb from a Russian military aircraft, the result is the same, that Assad continues to get support from Russia,’ added Kirby.

‘Assad continues to be able to have at his, you know, at his hands the capability of striking his own people, including those who are opposed to his regime.

‘And that’s not a good future for Syria. It’s also, as we’ve said before, we believe a mistake for Russia, because not only are they going to be exacerbating sectarian tensions there in Syria, but they’re potentially exacerbating sectarian tensions in Russia itself.

‘They’re putting themselves at greater risk.’