Moscow says US 'pretending' to fight ISIS in Iraq

2017-10-10 20:36
ISIS fighters who recently joined the group receiving military training in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour. (Militant Photo via AP, File)

ISIS fighters who recently joined the group receiving military training in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour. (Militant Photo via AP, File)

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Moscow - Moscow on Tuesday accused Washington of reducing its air strikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq to allow jihadists to enter Syria and fight the Russian-backed Syrian army.

Military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said the Syrian regime was attempting to push the jihadists out of eastern Deir Ezzor province, but that arrivals from Iraq were boosting their numbers.

"The US-led coalition, pretending to fight ISIS, largely in Iraq, sees all this but continues allegedly active measures against ISIS in Syria for some reason," he said.

"The continuing arrival of terrorists from Iraq raises serious questions about the anti-terrorist objectives of the US air force and the so-called 'international coalition'."

READ: 3 000 killed in Syria in deadliest month of 2017

The US-led coalition sharply reduced its strikes on Iraq in September, as Syrian forces were beginning to retake Deir Ezzor, Konashenkov said in a statement.

"Is this change in approach from the US and the coalition a bid to cause maximum disruption to the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air force, as it seeks to free Syrian territory to the east of the river Euphrates?"

Over the past month Moscow has repeatedly accused the US of hindering the Russian-backed Syrian army offensive in the east of the country.

Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria since 2015, when it stepped in to support President Bashar Assad's rule and tipped the conflict in his favour.

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Read more on:    isis  |  us  |  russia  |  syria  |  syria conflict

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