Friday, October 2, 2015

Turkey and partners "deeply concerned" over Russian strikes

Turkey and its partners in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State "called on Russia on Friday to cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition."
Source: Beta, Reuters, Tanjug
(Image made from Russian MoD video)
(Image made from Russian MoD video)
Reuters is reporting they instead want the Russian Air Force "to focus on fighting Islamist militants."
In a joint statement with the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Gulf Arab allies, Turkey said Russia's actions constituted a "further escalation" of the conflict and would only fuel more extremism, the agency reported.

"We express our deep concern with regard to the Russian military build-up in Syria and especially ‎the attacks by the Russian Air Force on Hama, Homs and Idlib since yesterday which led to civilian casualties and did not target Daesh (Islamic State)," the statement said.

Reuters noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday "assertions that civilians had been killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria were an 'information attack'."

According to the agency, "Russia's decision to join the war with air strikes on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this week, and the increased military involvement of Iran, could mark a turning point in a conflict that has drawn in most of the world's military powers."

Meanwhile in Moscow, chairman of the Duma Foreign Policy Committee Aleksei Pushkov announced that Russia will intensify airstrikes on targets in Syria, and that the campaign will last "from three to four months."

Speaking for French Radio Europe1, Pushkov added that there was "always the possibility of it lasting longer."

He said the airstrikes carried out so far by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq have been "insufficiently efficient."

"The United States has been pretending to bombard Islamists for a year, but with no results. If you're efficient, results will follow ," Pushkov said.

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