NATO to Russia: Stop striking Syrian opposition

Technicians gathering around a Russian air force Su-25 military jet on the tarmac of Heymim air base in Syria. (File: Reuters)

NATO told Russia on Thursday to focus its military operations in Syria on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants as it condemned Russian violation of Turkish airspace earlier this year.

A statement said the incursions into Turkish airspace were an “extreme danger” and demanded that Moscow halt all attacks against the Syrian opposition and civilians.

“Allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace. Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behavior,” NATO said in a statement

“Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behavior. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations.”

Russia hits ‘10 ISIS targets’

Russian jets struck 10 ISIS targets in Syria Monday, the defense ministry said, as Moscow ramped up its aerial campaign with bombardments that for the first time targeted the Damascus area.

“Su-34, Su-24M and Su-25 carried out 15 sorties from the Hmeimim airbase in the afternoon,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that 10 facilities had been struck on the sixth day of Moscow's military intervention in Syria.

The raids notably destroyed an ISIS command center and communications hub in a mountainous area of Damascus province, the statement said.

They also destroyed ISIS command centers in the northern province of Aleppo, around 20 tanks and two ammunition depots in the eastern province of Homs, as well as 30 vehicles, including armored vehicles, in northwestern Idlib province.

Moscow says it’s against ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria

Also on Monday, Russia spoke out against the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, saying it was important to respect the war-torn country’s sovereignty.

“Of course, we are against it,” deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Interfax news agency.

“It is necessary to respect countries’ sovereignty,” he said, adding that such a move would contravene the UN charter and international law.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and EU head Donald Tusk said earlier that they had discussed Ankara’s controversial plan for a no-fly zone and a safe zone cleared of ISIS militants in northern Syria.

Western officials had previously cast doubt on the Turkish proposals and the Financial Times reported at the weekend that Moscow’s dramatic entry into the Syria conflict had scuppered any plans of a U.S.-led coalition for such a zone.

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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