Russia, Western Allies Clash Over Syria Bombing
Russia’s defense minister says four Russian warships in the Caspian Sea launched rockets at Islamic State targets in Syria.
Russia has been bombing Syria for a week. But reports say Russia may now join the United States and Turkey on the air campaign.
American and other Western nations have said Russia has attacked Syrians who oppose the government of President Bashar al-Assad. They say Russia attacks the opposition to support Mr. Assad. They say the conflict in Syria will not end until Mr. Assad is ousted.
Russia says it has attacked Islamic State fighters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports on violence in Syria. It is based in Britain. It said Russian warplanes attacked the northern part of Hama and neighboring Idlib provinces on Wednesday. The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, told VOA on Wednesday that there are no ISIS fighters in the areas that were bombed.
Also Wednesday, a U.S.-trained rebel group told the Reuters news agency that Russian airstrikes had destroyed its main weapons storage area, in Aleppo. The group said Russian warplanes attacked its training camp in Idlib last week.
The Russian defense ministry said Russian and American defense experts would meet Wednesday to “coordinate actions in the fight against” Islamic State militants in Syria.
On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said representatives from the two countries met last week. He said Russia asked for the meeting.
Russian and Turkish officials have talked separately about working together to prevent clashes between Russian and Western warplanes over Syria.
U.S. Senator John McCain told Alhurra TV that he was very concerned about the recent entry into Turkish airspace by Russian warplanes. He has supported sending American troops to Iraq and Syria to fight Islamic State militants. He is a critic of President Barack Obama’s response to the conflict in Syria.
He said Russia is playing “a major role in the Middle East, and they’re achieving all of their objectives while we sit by and call it a quagmire, or in the words of the Secretary of Defense, ‘unprofessional.’ ”
President Obama ordered American warplanes to strike Islamic State targets. They have struck more than 2,600 times in Syria and 4,600 times in Iraq.
The president has refused to send American troops into Iraq and Syria to attack the Islamic State terrorists. The policy of sending troops into battle on land is called “boots on the ground.”
Turkey said Russian warplanes have illegally entered its airspace twice. Russian officials said Russian planes entering Turkish airspace was a “mistake.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday that the entries by Russian warplanes into Turkish airspace do not look like a mistake. He said he would not “speculate on the motives,” but he said “this is a serious violation of Turkish airspace, it should not happen again, and NATO has expressed strong solidarity with Turkey.”
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOANews.com News Writer Chris Hannas wrote this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
Words in This Story
coordinate – v. to make arrangements so that two or more people or groups of people can work together properly and well
achieve – v. to become successful; to reach a goal
objective – n. something you are trying to do or achieve; a goal or purpose
quagmire – n. a situation that is hard to deal with or get out of; a situation that is full of problems
speculate – v. to think about something and make guesses about it; to form ideas or theories about something usually when there are many things not known about it
motive – n. a reason for doing something
violation – n. the act of doing something that is not allowed by a law or rule
solidarity – n. a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests or goals
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