US 'using every excuse' to refuse to share intel on ISIS locations with Russia - military
The US is refusing to share intelligence on Islamic State with Russia and is doing everything to back out of cooperation, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“Our partners from other countries, which view Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) as a real enemy, which must be destroyed unconditionally, actively help us with data on bases, depots, command posts and training camps of terrorists. And those, who, apparently, have a different opinion about this terrorist organization, are constantly looking for reasons to refuse to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism," Russian media quoted Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, as saying.
Konashenkov was commenting on an earlier statement by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said that the US would not cooperate militarily with Russia in Syria because its strategy was “tragically flawed.”
Carter again claimed that Russian airstrikes are hitting not only ISIS, but also the so-called moderate opposition groups that fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom the US and their allies want to see ousted from power.
Konashenkov denied those allegations, saying that Russian forces are “only hitting the terrorists” in Syria.
“Those allegations are unfounded. We are always specifically talking about where, when and how we carry out our airstrikes. And the American politicians, like in this case, have nothing to back up their claims,” he said.
The spokesman said that the US Air Force has been bombing Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for a year now, but had failed to do any serious damage to the group.
“We have reasons to believe that they sometimes, or rather very often, hit targets non-related to terrorists,” he said.
Russian missiles are destroying ISIS infrastructure “not in order to support someone personally, but for the sake of fighting international terrorism,” Konashenkov said.
“And we are not only declaring it, but making concrete and effective steps” to deal with ISIS, he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Russian military is ready to cooperate with the US forces in Syria.
Shoigu also said the Russian Defense Ministry had appealed to military attaches of all countries that could help in fighting terrorists "to give us targets so that we could strike the ISIS units and camps more effectively."
On September 30, Russia launched its Air Force operation against Islamic State in Syria at the request of Assad’s government.
Since the start of the operation, the Russian military have destroyed at least 112 objects, including commanding points, ammunition depots and armored vehicles belonging to jihadists.
On Wednesday, Russia first employed its Navy in the anti-terror operation with four warships firing a total of 26 missiles at ISIS positions in Syria from the Caspian Sea.