Saudi calls on Russia to stop strikes on Syria

Saudi’s ambassador to the U.N.’s comments came after Russian strikes reportedly killed 36 civilians

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Many countries at the United Nations, including Saudi Arabia, have expressed concerns on Thursday regarding Russian strikes on Syria, especially civilian-heavy areas of Homs and Hama where 36 civilians were reportedly killed.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Abdullah Al-Mouallimi said that: “Countries that recently arrived in Syria can’t claim to fight ISIS while supporting the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad and his terrorist allies from foreign groups like Hezbollah among others.”

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers in Paris: “Curiously, they didn't hit Islamic State. I will let you draw a certain number of conclusions yourselves.”

Recent Russian attacks on supposedly ISIS-held areas in Homs and Hama reportedly result in the deaths of 36 civilians; including women and children, according to the Syrian National Council opposition group.

Meanwhile, Russia is dismissing claims that its airstrikes in Syria have killed civilians, saying the claims are false and part of an “information war.”

A spokesman for Russia’s foreign ministry on Wednesday told reporters on the sidelines of a U.N. gathering of world leaders that Russia is acting “absolutely, legitimately” according to international law.

She adds that “Honestly I don’t understand what is the difference between the French air bombings and Russia’s. There’s only one difference, we’re acting according to a request from Damascus.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow must act preemptively to destroy militants in Syria before they present a threat closer to home.

“The only correct way to fight international terrorism.... is to act preemptively, to battle and destroy fighters and terrorists on the territories they have already seized, not to wait for them to come to us,” Putin said in televised comments.

[With the Associated Press]