Russia launches first airstrikes in Syria – CNN

Story highlights
U.S. defense secretary says Russian strikes “will inflame” Syrian war
Carter says “it does appear” the strikes were in areas where ISIS forces likely weren’t
Russia says it conducted strikes on eight ISIS targets, including communication and control positions

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, warplanes targeted eight ISIS positions, including arms, transportation, communications and control positions.
But U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter countered that claim.
“I want to be careful about confirming information, but it does appear that they (Russian airstrikes) were in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces,” he told reporters. ISIL is another acronym for ISIS.
“The result of this kind of action will inevitably, simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria,” Carter said.
A senior U.S. administration official told CNN’s Elise Labott that a Russian airstrike near the Syrian city of Homs “has no strategic purpose” in terms of combating ISIS, which “shows they are not there to go after ISIL.”

Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported that Russian warplanes had targeted “ISIS dens” in al-Rastan, Talbiseh and Zafaraniya in Homs province; Al-Tilol al-Hmer, in Qunaitra province; Aydoun, a village on the outskirts of the town of Salamiya; Deer Foul between Hama and Homs; and the outskirts of Salmiya.
The official said the United States had no intention of preventing the strikes, but that Russian planes didn’t seem to be flying in areas where the United States is operating.
“They are not stupid,” the official said.

Kerry: ‘Grave concerns’
U.S.-led coalition missions were continuing as normal despite an advance warning and request from Russia to stay out of Syrian airspace.
During a statement at the U.N. Security Council meeting on fighting terrorism, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: “We have conducted a number of strikes against ISIL targets in Syria over the past 24 hours including just an hour ago. These strikes will continue.”
Kerry said the U.S.-led coalition had conducted 3,000 airstrikes against ISIS and that efforts would dramatically increase.
He warned that the fight against ISIS should not be confused with support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Moreover, we have also made clear that we would have grave concerns should Russia strike areas where ISIL and al Qaeda affiliated targets are not operating. Strikes of that kind would question Russia’s real intentions — fighting ISIL or protecting the Assad regime,” …Read More