US says most of Russian air strikes not targeting DAESH

US Special Envoy for Global Coalition to Counter DAESH points that only 30 percent of Russian air strikes target DAESH

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Brett McGurk, the United States new envoy to the coalition it leads against DAESH, speaks to reporters during a news conference at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on December 9, 2015

Only 30 percent of the Russian air strikes that began in late September in Syria are targeted DAESH positions and the rest targeted the United States new envoy to the Global Coalition to counter DAESH, Brett McGurk said on Wednesday.

During a briefing in Bagdat, he said that the US campaign in Syria was very effective, and it had the data to back that up.

“The Russian air campaign has different objectives quite frankly," McGurk added.

In September, Russia had announced that it’s air strikes in Syria aimed to combat DAESH in support of it’s close ally, Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

However, Russian air strikes in Syria have killed 1,331 people including at least 403 civilians from September 30 to November 20 in 2015, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

The SOHR said that only less than half of those killed in Syria by Russian air strikes were DAESH terrorist.

In September, Obama expressed his concerns over the Russian air campaign in Syria, saying that the air strikes were prompting the Assad regime instead of combating DAESH.

The west also condemned Russian military activity in the region, accusing the country of targeting “moderate Syrian position” fighting against Assad’s regime, who carried out numerous air strikes in Syria since 2012, which forced millions of people to flee the country.

According to SOHR, between 120 and 200 civilians die on a daily basis across Syria by Assad regime bombardments, barrel bombs and as a result of immense torture in prisons in which the regime detains civilians indiscriminately.
Anti-DAESH coalition focuses on closure of Turkey-Syria border

The United States envoy Brett McGurk also stated on Wednesday that the focus of the anti-DAESH coalition was to seal Turkey’s border with Syria to prevent the flow of DAESH fighters.

The statement came following months of talks between the US and Turkey on a joint operation to combat DAESH in the region.
"We are increasing our pressure there," said McGurk.

Turkey announced a surveillance system called “Physical Border Security System” along the Syria border.

“We need a working on border system which will not break up ties of Syrian and Turkish people, but it will prevent entry and exits of terrorists and flow of foreign fighters. It should also ease safe passages for humanitarian purposes,” former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in September.

Speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said on Wednesday that Russia was ready for cooperation in the anti-DAESH coalition to contribute the sealing of Turkey’s border with Syria.

"Russia is ready to offer its services to ensure absolute control over this border. We have proposals that are being discussed on the level of security services," Valentina Matvienko told reporters.

TRTWorld and agencies