EN|RU|UK
  24602
Related materials:

 Just one in 20 Russian air strikes hit Islamic State

Only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed at Islamic State targets, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Saturday, warning that Vladimir Putin was instead killing civilians to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.

Censor.NET reports citing ЕP

Russia bombed Syria for a third straight day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting, and drawing an angry response from the West.

Michael Fallon revealed that initial MoD intelligence suggested only one in 20 Russian air attacks so far were on targets to damage IS. "We're analysing where the strikes are going every morning. The vast majority are not against IS at all. Our evidence indicates they are dropping unguided munitions in civilian areas, killing civilians, and they are dropping them against the free Syrian forces fighting Assad," he added.

Read also: Russian media focus on Syria instead of Ukraine

Putin's decision to launch strikes in Syria marks a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in a civil war more than four years old, where every major country in the region has a stake.

Fallon's outburst is the strongest attack yet by a Government official on Russia's entry into the civil war. And he conceded the Kremlin's surprise actions have made the West's plans for a no-fly zone or safe haven to protect fleeing refugees a lot harder to implement.

Michael Fallon also revealed he has held face-to-face talks with the King of Jordan about setting up a no-fly zone in southern Syria. But he denied Putin has left Europe and the US looking weak by acting before them. He insisted Putin's actions won't stop the Government from widening RAF assaults on IS in Syria.

"I don't accept he has outmanoeuvred us. He has complicated the situation in Syria. But we're not powerless," Fallon said.

Read also: Russian bombing in Syria is only strengthening Islamic State - Obama
 
 
 
 up