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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Kerry warns Lavrov over Russian airstrikes in Syria

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:52PM

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Russian airstrikes in Syria could escalate the years-long conflict in the Arab country, a senior American official says.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kerry told Lavrov, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting, on Wednesday that the Russian move is against efforts of 'deconfliction' and is unhelpful.

The top US diplomat 'conveyed the message that we will not be altering our operations and that this announcement by the Russians runs counter to their stated efforts of deconfliction and is not helpful to that effort, and again made clear that the deconfliction discussions need to begin immediately,' the official said.

Kerry's warning came shortly after Russia carried out its first airstrikes in Syria against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists, according to a senior American official.

Moscow carried out the mission on Wednesday near the city of Homs, CNN reported quoting the senior unmanned official.

In response, State Department spokesman John Kirby said US and its international coalition partners would continue their airstrikes in Syria, despite the fact that Russian diplomats sent an official demarche ordering US planes out of Syria.

'The US-led coalition will continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria as planned and in support of our international mission to degrade and destroy ISIL,' Kirby told reporters.

'A Russian official in Baghdad this morning informed US Embassy personnel that Russian military aircraft would begin flying anti-ISIL missions today over Syria. He further requested that US aircraft avoid Syrian airspace during these missions,' he said.

US officials claim that Russia is engaged in a military build-up in the Arab nation.

They say Moscow has recently sent hundreds of troops, as well as fighter jets, artillery and other military hardware to an airport in Syria's western province of Latakia.

Washington says that Moscow is seeking to establish a military outpost in Syria to help the government in its fight against ISIL terrorists. US officials also said the deployment raises the possibility of air combat missions in Syrian airspace.

Last week, the US secretary of state warned that Moscow's support for the Syrian government could lead to a confrontation between American forces and Russian troops in the Arab country.

'These actions could provoke a further escalation of the conflict and lead to the loss of more innocent lives, increasing the flow of refugees and risking a confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria,' Kerry said, referring to the US-led group said to be fighting against Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. The United States and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria since the beginning of the crisis.

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