A senior US official alleged Russian air strikes in and around the city of Aleppo against opponents of the Syrian regime are benefitting ISIS. “What Russia’s doing is directly enabling ISIL,” Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has taken the lead over the past week in accusing Russia of derailing efforts to get Syrian peace talks going, by carrying out air strikes around Aleppo in support of a government offensive.
Kerry and some 20 foreign ministers, including Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, are meeting in Munich Thursday to try to arrange a ceasefire and humanitarian access to Syrian cities besieged by government forces.
Tuesday Kerry called Moscow to work for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and to halt its air campaign, which has intensified in recent days.
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s closest ally, began conducting air strikes of its own September 30, 2015, targeting mainly rebels backed by the West, according to US officials.
In his testimony, McGurk outlined coalition plans to intensify its campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria, acknowledging the complexity of the task because it relies heavily on a diverse array of local forces on the ground.