SNC: Russia air strikes on ISIS doesn’t go beyond 6% of its targets
Syria’s opposition leader criticizes Russia after his group included more Alawites in a new political coalition
Russia air strikes against the notorious ISIS group does not go beyond six percent of its total targets in Syria, head of the main opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) group said Monday in a press conference in Turkey.
Instead, Khaled Khoja accused Russia of targeting moderate rebels and civilians while avoiding ISIS-held sites. He said Russia is prioritizing its support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army.
With the help of Russia’s air strikes, the Syrian army was able to recapture a town and village in the central province of Homs from ISIS on Monday, state media and a monitoring group said.
Khoja, meanwhile, called on the Al-Qaeda-affiliate in Syria Al-Nusra Front to officially cut its ties with ISIS and to spare the country the “scourge of destruction and terrorism.”
“We do not see all who took up arms against Assad as true revolutionaries, nor do we accept transforming Syria into cantons ruled by warlords,” he said. “It is vital, therefore, to put the revolution back on track and lay out labels to make a distinction between revolutionary and criminal acts.”
He made his statement after a new political coalition was announced officially Sunday which included more Alawites.
While the Syrian opposition has long had other minority components such as Christians and Alawites, Assad’s supporters always strived to garner backing by claiming that rebels are hijacked by Islamists who oppose minority rights.
The opposition leader also held Assad – who is himself an Alawite - responsible for the “sectarian tensions” in Syria.
“Assad is responsible for violence plaguing the country by insisting on security and military solutions, and bears responsibility for the escalation of sectarian tensions that he deliberately devised,” he said.
Khoja also rejected “every foreign presence in Syria,” in clear reference to Russia and Iran, Assad’s main two allies.
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