US: Russian jets striking non-ISIL targets in Syria may only inflame civil war

Russia’s actions in Syria is only making the civil war more fierce, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a press conference at Pentagon September 30. He added that Russia’s position of supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and desire to fight extremists which include the Islamic State is a contradiction.

“One of the reasons why the Russian position is contradictory is that the potential for them to strike, as they may well have, in places where in fact ISIL is not present,” Secretary Carter as quoted in the official website of Pentagon. “The result of this kind of action will inevitably simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria, and why therefore it’s ill advised to take this kind of action in support of Assad only, without pursuing a political transition there, and that’s why we’re trying to get them to that same position.”

The American defense secretary reiterated that a lasting defeat of ISIL and its terrorist allies can be achieved only in parallel with a political transition in Syria. “We will continue to insist on the importance of simultaneously pursuing these two objectives. And I would hope Russia would join us in pursuing these objectives,” Carter said

“Fighting IS without pursuing a parallel political transition only risks escalating the civil war in Syria – and with it, the very extremism and instability that Moscow claims to be concerned about and aspire to fighting,” he said. “So that approach is tantamount – to pouring gasoline on the fire.”

Carter added that US-led “coalition will continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria as planned, as we did today, in support of our international mission to degrade and destroy ISIL.”

“If Russia wants to end its international isolation and be considered a global power, it must stop its aggression in eastern Ukraine and its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, and live up to its commitments under the Minsk agreement,” he said.