Washington | The United States has denounced Russian air strikes in and around the Syrian city of Aleppo, saying they were targeting opposition groups and civilians and were harming faltering attempts at peace. It is difficult in the extreme to see how strikes against civilian targets contribute in any way to the peace process now being explored, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, after the UN suspended peace negotiations until February 25.
Moscow has consistently said that it is going after terrorist organizations in Syria, including the Islamic State extremist group. But the Syrian opposition and Western countries say the Russian strikes have almost entirely targeted other rebel groups, many of them backed by the West, Gulf states and Turkey. We continue to see more Russian air strikes in and around Aleppo strikes not aimed at Daesh, the IS group, but rather, almost exclusively on the opposition, said Kirby.
The spokesman said the strikes had led to reports of civilian casualties, increased displacement of Syrian citizens and the possible obstruction of humanitarian assistance routes. And so again we call on Russia to focus their military energy in Syria on Daesh, a common enemy to the entire international community, and not on the opposition or on innocent civilians.
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