Russia Attacking Syrian Opposition, Not ISIL Militants - Stoltenberg
12:22 06.10.2015(updated 13:06 06.10.2015)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he urged Russia to play a constructive and cooperative role in the fight against ISIL.
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday again expressed his concern that Russia is targeting the Syrian opposition and not Islamic State (ISIL) militants.
'I'm also concerned that Russia is not targeting ISIL, but instead attacking the Syrian opposition and civilians,' the NATO chief during a pre-ministerial press conference.
Stoltenberg added he discussed the situation in Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York last week.
'I urge Russia to play a constructive and cooperative role in the fight against ISIL. And to strive for a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Syria,' Stoltenberg emphasized.
The bloc head stated that NATO was concerned about Russia's military buildup in Syria and warned Moscow against escalating tensions with a US-led coalition currently operating in the region.
Russia commenced precision airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria September 30, following a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed earlier reports that the country's airstrikes had caused civilian casualties, calling the claims false and information warfare.
According to ministry data, the Russian air campaign has done considerable damage to ISIL command and logistics networks, as well as to infrastructure used to equip suicide bombers.
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