Despite Russian claims to the contrary, it appears that about 95% of their missions are being directed against US backed rebels, not ISIS.
Britain’s defense secretary Michael Fallon told the Sun newspaper that the Russians were killing civilians to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad, using “dumb bombs” to target CIA-backed rebels.
Only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed at Islamic State targets, Britain’s defense secretary said on Saturday, warning that Vladimir Putin was instead killing civilians to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia bombed Syria for a third straight day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting, and drawing an angry response from the West.
In an interview with the Sun newspaper, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the vast majority of Russian air strikes were not aimed at the militant group at all.
“Our evidence indicates they are dropping unguided munitions in civilian areas, killing civilians, and they are dropping them against the Free Syrian forces fighting Assad,” he said. “He’s shoring up Assad and perpetuating the suffering.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he sees a strong case for conducting British air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, but he wants to make sure he has enough support in parliament to gain approval.
He lost a parliamentary vote on the use of force in Syria in 2013. Consequently, British bombing so far has only targeted Islamic State in neighboring Iraq.
Fallon said Putin’s actions complicated the situation in Syria, but the British government had made progress in persuading lawmakers from the opposition Labour party to back strikes in Syria. It would be morally wrong not to do so, he said.
“We can’t leave it to French, Australian and American aircraft to keep our own British streets safe,” he said.
Putin doesn’t give a fig about civilian casualties, nor world outrage at the deaths of innocents. This seems pretty clear by his use of “drop ’em and forget ’em” dumb bombs. Killing rebels and their families is the only thing that matters.
President Obama says that Russia’s foray into Syria is a sign of “weakness” and that Russia will slip into the Syrian “quagmire.” Does he really believe that if he says it, that makes it so? Obama is slipping into a fantasty land where he is projecting his own weakness on to President Putin. Meanwhile, the Russian president continues to give the US president the finger while destroying CIA backed militias that have carried the fight to President Assad in the last six months. Putin is targeting the rebel’s most effective fighters, while readying Iranian and Hezb’allah ground forces to engage them. With air power that the rebels can’t match or defend against, the ground forces should make pretty short work of Assad’s most effective enemies.