Russia’s airstrikes do not target civilians or moderate opposition in Syria – Syrian FM

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem © Maxim Zmeyev
The claims voiced by the US that Russian airstrikes in Syria targeted moderate opposition and civilians are absolutely false, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told RT Arabic channel.

Moscow’s anti-terror operation in Syria “is coordinated [with Damascus] and executed at the request of the Syrian leadership to the Russian authorities. There’s non-stop coordination on this military operation,” Muallem stressed.

The minister dismissed reports which claim that the Russian airstrikes targeted civilians and so-called moderate opposition areas in Syria.

“They [the US] will lie to the end. This is absolutely false. There are certain targets established by our intelligence and the [Russian] airstrikes were carried out on the basis of this data,” he told RT Arabic.

Vladimir Putin decried “information attacks on Russia” on Thursday, stressing that “reports of alleged casualties among civilians emerged even before Russian warplanes were launched for their first combat mission.”

Muallem expressed confidence that Russia’s military involvement in Syria would stimulate a political solution to the crisis in the country.

“The political process should benefit from changes in the situation on the ground. The thing is that the purpose of these [Russian] airstrikes is to destroy IS and Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist groups as well as other Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists. Therefore, [positive] results of these military operations will lead to political results,” he explained.

The minister also pinned “high hopes” on the joint information center in Baghdad set up by Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to coordinate their operations against IS militants.

READ MORE: Russia, Iran, Iraq & Syria setting up ‘joint information center’ to coordinate anti-ISIS operations

According to the Syrian FM, the global war on terror has so far been fruitless due to the “obvious split in the international community.”

“Terrorism has spread, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. For this reason, we called for the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions related to the fight against terrorism… We asked why the Security Council did nothing against those states, which failed to begin the implementation of those resolutions,” he said.

Russian aviation began carrying out airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria on Wednesday.

The effort is designed to provide air support to the Syrian army, which is struggling to contain the spread of jihadist militants in the war-torn country.