Is Russia targeting ISIS?

Air strikes conducted by Russian air force in Syria don’t target ISIS held areas according to main opposition leader Khaled Khoja

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Residents inspect a site damaged by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad

Updated Oct 1, 2015

The head of Syrian National Coalition Khaled Khoja said that Russian air strikes on Wednesday targeted areas where ISIS and Al Qaeda-linked fighters are not present. He wrote on his Twitter feed that "all the targets in today's Russian air raid over northern Homs were civilians." Khoja, who is in New York to attend a UN General Assembly meeting declared that 36 civilians had been killed in five different areas.

"The targeted areas in today's Russian air raid in Homs were those areas which fought ISIL [ISIS] and defeated it a year ago," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday it appeared Russian air strikes in Syria took place in areas where there are probably no ISIS militants, despite Moscow's statements that it was striking the group.

A French diplomatic source also said that Russia doesn’t bomb ISIS held areas.

"If it is Homs, which it seems to be, it is not Daesh [ISIS] that they are targeting, but probably opposition groups, which confirms that they are more in support of Bashar's regime than in fighting Daesh," diplomatic source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Activists, locals and rebels have also reported that the areas which Russia conducted air strikes is not controlled by ISIS.

Areas in the Homs province of Syria that were struck by the Russian air force on Wednesday are controlled by an array of rebel groups including several operating under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army."

TRTWorld and agencies