Alexei Pushkov, the head of the lower house of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told French website Europe 1 that the United States’ airstrike campaign was a failure, and the U.S. was only “pretending” to stop the advancing Islamic State.
“I think it’s the intensity that is important. The U.S.-led coalition has pretended to bomb Daesh (IS) for a year, without results,” Pushkov told Europe 1. “If you do it in a more efficient way, the results will be known,” he added.
Pushkov’s comments come days after Russia began its own airstrike campaign against IS in Syria. Russian officials have stated that they expect the campaign to last three to four months. Pushkov told Europe 1 that the U.S.-led coalition had launched more than 2,500 air strikes and had little success.
The International Business Times reported:
“Speaking at the UN in New York on 1 October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country would also attack other terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate) and ‘other terrorist groups recognised by the UN Security Council or Russian law.’
‘If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?’ Lavrov responded when asked to define what constitutes ‘other terrorist groups’.”
These comments have created concern among U.S. officials that Russia may target groups who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army (FSA). Pushkov said, “The main target are the Daesh groups situated closest to Damascus. We need to eliminate this group or at least neutralise it and afterwards we’ll see what Syria’s future is.”
According to a translation of Pushkov’s Twitter provided by Sputnik, Pushkov stated, “[Senator John] McCain accused us of striking out at US-trained insurgents… However, since they have either run away or joined al-Qaeda, hitting them is a mission impossible.”
“The US-led coalition spent a whole year pretending they were striking ISIL targets but where are the results of these strikes?” Pushkov wondered.
Sputnik also reports that a Russian defense ministry spokesman said that the Russian air force had targeted Islamic State military equipment, communication facilities, arms depots, ammunition and fuel supplies, and had done so without hitting civilian targets.
The BBC reported that Assad called the U.S.-led coalition’s air strikes “counter-productive” measures which have only spread terrorism. Assad is now calling for a coalition between Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq must succeed “or else the whole region will be destroyed.”