Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on late Friday said that Russian air strikes in Syria failed to hit ISIS, questioning Russia’s motives in intervening in the country.
Speaking in a televised interview with Al Jazeera, Erdogan said, "We learned that 65 people died during the ongoing Russian operations. Where? Around Hama, Homs and Aleppo. This is significant. Because Russia expressed [to] our embassy in a written statement that it will struggle against ISIS there.”
“But, it [Russia] did not [carry out strikes] against ISIS; it struck against moderate opposition forces, which have been resisting the regime. Civilians were killed. They ignore the killing of civilians,” Erdogan added.
On September 30 Russia launched air strikes claiming its operations would target the ISIS militant group in support of the regime of President Bashar al Assad, hours after lawmakers in the upper house of parliament in Moscow unanimously approved military action in Syria.
However, the US has raised concerns that Wednesday’s air strikes in the cities of Homs and Hama were aimed at moderate opposition groups fighting against Bashar al Assad’s regime and killed a number of civilians.
Erdogan said that the US and several of its allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, issued a joint statement on Thursday, expressing concern over the Russian air strikes.
"Why is Russia so interested in Syria?"
Stating that he will talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin concerning the killings, Erdogan continued, "Since we are two friendly countries I will ask them to review their steps on this issue, because we feel sorrow for the region and we bear the pain. Russia does not have a border with Syria, but I have a border of 911 kilometers [with Syria].”
"We look after two million people. Russia does not. Why is Russia so interested in Syria? I want to understand this,” Erdogan added.