US expresses concern over Russia’s military action in Syria

Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed concern over Russia’s military action in Syria especially against non-Islamic State targets.

“The Secretary repeated our concerns about the preponderance of targets that are being struck by Russian military forces that are not ISIL-related,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby yesterday said.

Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov over telephone about the importance of moving forward on tactical discussions and dialogue towards the goal of de-confliction to avoid mishaps and misunderstandings, particularly in the air.

The two leaders underlined about the importance of moving forward towards a political track in Syria, stressing once again that there’s not going to be a military solution to the civil war in Syria; that it can only be solved through a political solution.

This means a transition to a government away from Assad and towards one that is responsive to the desperate needs of the Syrian people, the US official said.

Kirby said more and more now members of the international community, be they multilateral organizations or entities or individual countries, recognize that the status quo in Syria is simply not sustainable.

“And it is not going to get us anywhere towards ending this conflict, and that more and more are coming to believe that a political solution is the right answer. But political solutions are really tough,” he said.

“Not that military solutions aren’t as well, but political ones are especially tough, and there’s a lot more factors, a lot more nuance that has to be considered, and a lot more work that has to be done to try to get at that,” Kirby said.

Kerry is committed to working through that, and again, that was one of the reasons why he wanted to have another conversation with Lavrov today, he said.

The American strategy in Syria, he said, is a multi-line strategy. “It’s not just a military strategy; it’s multiple lines of effort. The military strategy against ISIL is progressing. Is it perfect? No. Have we defeated this enemy? No. And yes, it’s going to be a long struggle. But they are under increasing pressure, and that pressure primarily is coming in the forms of military capabilities arrayed against them by a 60-plus nation coalition,” he said.

“Politically, where we want to move in Syria is towards a transition. If you take a look at the sum total of what Russia has done militarily in Syria, you can only conclude from that that they are trying to bolster Assad regime, which is coming under increasing pressure and becoming increasingly fragile,” Kirby said.