Russian campaign in Syria doomed to fail, says Pentagon chief
Iran Press TV
Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:44PM
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says Russia's military campaign against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Syria is "deeply mistaken and doomed to fail."
"The Russians got off on the wrong foot in this," Carter said Thursday during an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe".
"They started out with a strategy that was deeply mistaken and doomed to fail. That was a strategy not to fight ISIL which they said they were going to do. That's not what they did."
Carter said Russia needs to change its strategy in the Arab country and opt for a future in Syria where President Bashar al-Assad is not in power.
'If the Russians change their strategy and work on a political transition in which Assad goes and the structures of government in Syria are sustained," he said.
"If they get on the right foot, then… there's a possibility they will contribute in a positive way to this campaign," Carter added.
Russia launched its aerial strikes against the terror group in late September upon a request from Damascus.
'Obama backs military escalation in Syria'
Carter also signaled US President Barack Obama's desire to step up the military campaign against ISIL.
'The president has indicated he is prepared to do more, including on the ground," Carter said. 'It is important not only to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, but they have to stay defeated."
'We are prepared to change the rules of engagement,' he added. "We have changed tactics, as we just did in the case of the fuel trucks.'
Earlier this week, the so-called US-led coalition forces targeted 116 ISIL fuel trucks. Pentagon officials attributed the attack to better intelligence collection, adding that there they are now much more willing to inflict greater damage on Syrian infrastructure, under the pretext of disrupting ISIL's oil income.
The Obama administration has already deployed 50 US Special Operation forces in Syria who are blended with Kurdish fighters, purportedly giving them military advice.
'Paris attacks bolster intelligence'
Elsewhere in his remarks, Carter noted that the Paris attacks on Friday that killed 132 people will lead to more accurate and extensive intelligence gathering against Daesh.
"If you look at the data, the thing that most enhances the impact of the air campaign is better and better intelligence," he said.
'And we are getting better and better at this every day,' he added. 'And I hope now, as a consequence of the Paris attacks, France has indicated a willingness to do more."
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