White House: Russian actions risk prolonging Syrian conflict

White House spokesman Josh Earnest speaks to reporters from the briefing room of the White House in Washington Oct. 1, 2015. (Reuters)

Russia's military actions in Syria risk prolonging the sectarian conflict in the war-torn country, the White House said on Thursday after U.S. and Russian military leaders held the first in a series of discussions about “deconflicting” operations in the country.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called Russian air strikes in Syria “indiscriminate” and said the operations risk drawing Moscow more deeply into the conflict.

The U.S.-led coalition had said earlier on Thursday that its operations in Syria against ISIS are unaffected despite Russia’s involvement in the conflict.

Colonel Steve Warren, a military spokesman, said coalition planes had flown several sorties over the past 24 hours in Syria.

Separately, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday Russian air strikes in Syria should be targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants and not other groups, as he prepares to hold talks with Vladimir Putin in Paris.

Hollande said with Russia it was essential to ensure that “the strikes, regardless of who is carrying them out, target Daesh (another term for ISIS) and not other groups.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45