Russia launches airstrikes against al-Assad's enemies in Syria – CNN
Syrian official says all opponents of Assad count as terrorists
McCain asserts that Russia is hitting groups funded and trained by the CIA
Putin spokesman says it’s too early to evaluate military operation in Syria
“Russian Aerospace Forces engaged another four #ISIS facilities in #Syria this night,” the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Twitter along with gun camera video showing large explosions.
The strikes were carried out by eight Russian SU-24 and SU-25 jets, which claimed to hit ISIS “terrorist staff” and an ammunition dump near Idlib and another headquarters in Hama.
But 24 hours into the military campaign, Russia’s aims started to come into clearer focus — that it is targeting those who oppose al-Assad, including more moderate factions that are supported by the United States and others in the west.
As much as Russia is working against terrorist groups, it appears to be intent on supporting the Assad regime.
A Syrian official stated as much on Thursday.
Russians are fighting alongside the Syrians, to destroy not just ISIS but all of the other rebel groups in Syria, the Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, told CNN’s Matthew Chance on Thursday.
Haddad said all of the rebel groups, including ISIS, have a common goal: “to spread terror.”
He told CNN that the impact of the Russian airstrikes over the past few days has been more effective than all of the coalition airstrikes so far combined and that the Syrian army and the Russian army are working side by side, sharing intelligence and data and working very closely together.
McCain: Putin’s goal ‘to prop up Bashar al-Assad’
And Sen. John McCain told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he could “absolutely confirm” that the initial strikes were “against our Free Syrian Army or groups that have been armed and trained by the CIA, because we have communications with people there.”
McCain called the Russian strikes “an incredible flouting of any kind of cooperation or effort to conceal what their first — Putin’s priority is. And that is of course to prop up Bashar al-Assad.”
The U.S. and Russian military will hold a secure video teleconference call Thursday. The U.S. will be represented by Elissa Slotkin, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and Vice Adm. Frank Craig Pandolfe, director of strategic plans and policy on the Joint Staff, according to the Pentagon.
Russian officials had said they …Read More