Pentagon cloaks ignorance in calling Russia’s killing of top ISIS leader ‘joke’– Russian Defense Min

A Russian Su-24 aircraft lands at the Hmeimim airbase in Syria. © Maksim Blinov
The Russian Defense Ministry has rebuked Pentagon officials’ statements that reports of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) top commander Abu Muhammad al-Adnani's death in a Russian airstrike were a “joke.”

It is not surprising that the US Defense Ministry doesn't know what the situation in Syria is like, since it doesn't want to work with Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“There is nothing unusual in the absence of any factual information about the Russian Air Force strike on August 30,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a news briefing, adding that US officials have been boasting on a daily basis for more than a year that they “by no means coordinate or concert their operations in Syria with Russia.”

“How are you then supposed to get this information at all?” Konashenkov said. He added that the Pentagon has no choice but to call Russian reports “a joke” in order to “cloak its own ignorance.”

On August 31, Pentagon officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Moscow’s claim that Islamic State leader Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was killed in one of its air strikes was false and called it “a joke.”

Islamic State confirmed the death of Adnani in Aleppo region on August 30, providing no further details. Moscow then said that the terrorist leader had been killed in an air strike conducted by a Russian Su-34 bomber, adding that Adnani’s death in the strike was confirmed by several intelligence channels.

The Pentagon also said it targeted Adnani on August 30 but did not immediately confirm his death.

Fight all terrorists instead of hunting specific ones

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Konashenkov also criticized the US-led coalition's approach to combating terrorists in Syria by questioning its effectiveness.

“Unlike the so-called US-led anti-Islamic State coalition consisting of more than 60 countries, Russian Air Forces are effectively eliminating all terrorists in Syria and do not engage in expensive and senseless hunts for specific persons,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

He also added that US drones often hit “ordinary Afghans, Pakistanis, Syrians, Iraqis and citizens of other countries instead of terrorist leaders,” implying that Washington's “precision strikes” are not actually so precise.

At the same time, he also said that it was not Al-Adnani who had been the real target of the Russian air strike, but rather a group of about 40 Islamic State terrorists.