Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russia's First Airstrikes in Syria Hit U.S.-Backed Rebels Fighting Bashar al-Assad (VIDEO)

So, Putin's air campaign hits the purported "U.S.-backed rebels"?

As Instapundit would say, "unexpectedly!"

Oh, and can you say "proxy war"?

At Foreign Policy, "Russia’s First Strikes in Syria Hit U.S. Ally, Not Islamic State":
Moscow says its enemy is ISIS, but the initial phase of its air war in Syria hit American-backed rebels battling Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

Barack Obama’s administration said Wednesday that it doesn’t know whom Russia is bombing inside Syria. Rebel leaders on the ground there say they know precisely whom Moscow is targeting — and it isn’t the Islamic State.

Instead, Russia’s first airstrikes in Syria — which dominated the final day of the United Nations General Assembly session — appear to have struck a rebel group that likely was vetted by the CIA, uses U.S.-made weapons, and has publicly backed the international coalition fighting the Islamic State. The group is also part of the ad hoc alliance of militias battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which means that the early phase of Moscow’s military intervention will strengthen Assad at least as much as it will weaken the Islamic State.

Jamil al-Saleh, a defected Syrian army officer who is now the leader of the rebel group Tajammu al-Aaza, told that the Russian airstrikes targeted his group’s base in al-Lataminah, a town in the western Syrian governorate of Hama. That area represents one of the farthest southern points of the rebel advance from the north and is therefore a crucial front line in the war. An alliance of Syrian rebel factions, including both the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and groups considered by Washington to be more moderate, successfully drove Assad regime forces out of the northern governorate of Idlib and are now pushing south into Hama.

Tajammu al-Aaza released a video of the airstrike and its aftermath before Saleh’s statement. Syrian security sources also confirmed that a Russian airstrike took place in al-Lataminah. The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, released a video of what it said was one of the strikes.

U.S. officials were quick to criticize the strikes, which they said had hit targets that didn’t appear to be linked to the Islamic State. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at the Pentagon that the strikes were in areas “where there probably were not ISIL forces,” using an alternate acronym for the group. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, for his part, told reporters that it was “too early for me to say exactly what targets they were aiming at and what targets were actually hit.”

The strikes come amid a flurry of diplomatic maneuvering at the United Nations, where Moscow and Washington have traded potshots about who is to blame for the rise of the Islamic State and who should take the lead in fighting the group...
Still more.

And see the Wall Street Journal, "U.S. Rebukes Russia Over Syria Strikes."


willian vivian said...
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