The Russian air force has conducted its first bombing Wednesday in Syria at the request of President Bashar al-Assad, Putin saying it was necessary to take the “terrorists” speed and hit them before they come “home”.
These strikes occurred before the scheduled start at 14 pm GMT (10 am in Montreal) a meeting at United Nations Security Council, chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the “terrorist threat” in the first Instead of the Armed Islamic Group State (EI) in Iraq and Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Russian planes had conducted “precision strikes” in Syria, destroying including “military equipment” means of communication and “arms and ammunition” of IE.
According to a Syrian security source, the Russian aviation, in cooperation with the Syrian army, hit “terrorist positions” located in three provinces in Syria, Hama, Homs and Latakia in the north-west and central countries.
“The only way to fight effectively against international terrorism – in Syria as on neighboring territories – (…) is to take speed to fight and destroy the fighters and terrorists in the territories they control and not wait for them to come to us “, justified Vladimir Putin during a cabinet meeting, according to comments broadcast on Russian television.
He also said that Russian bombing was consistent with international law as they were responding to a request for military assistance made by the Syrian president, who confirmed that a letter to this effect had been sent by Bashar al-Assad, for lack of a UN resolution. The Russian president also confirmed that the device only involved airstrikes, thus excluding – at least for now – the commitment of ground troops.
On the political side, Putin said his Syrian ally had to be ready to “compromise” with the opposition.
The United States, who first announced the Russian strikes were once again overtaken. US Secretary of State John Kerry has also called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to complain.
These strikes will not change the anti-EI mission of the coalition, also indicated Washington.
In the morning, Russian senators had unanimously approved the request of the Kremlin to allow the use of a “military contingent” abroad, in a similar vote to that which preceded the sending of Russian special forces Ukrainian Crimean peninsula shortly before its annexation in March 2014.
According to the Russian General Yuri Iakoubov, information on air strikes will be transmitted to the United States via the antiterrorist coordination center established in Baghdad by Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia.
“It’s not to make any geopolitical objective or satisfy any ambition, as we regularly accuse our Western partners. These are the interests of Russia, “said Sergei Ivanov.
This acceleration of Moscow’s involvement in the Syrian issue falls amid standoff between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart on the fate of Bashar al-Assad, “tyrant” who has to leave for a bulwark against jihadists and of EI for each other.
Russian draft resolution
To maneuver in the Syrian issue, Putin has become in a few weeks as a key player facing Barack Obama.
Washington was taken aback by the Moscow gamble that has strengthened solidly in September its military presence in the northwest of Syria, the regime stronghold, deploying military equipment and building a base in Airport Latakia. Russia has also stepped up its arms deliveries to the Syrian army.
Monday at the UN, the Kremlin strongman had called for the formation of a “broad antiterrorist coalition” against EI, including Damascus and Tehran.
Barack Obama, who leads without success for a year a vast campaign against the jihadist group and French President Francois Hollande, however, reject this idea and insist on the need for a “new leader” in Damascus.
Despite the disputes, Putin nevertheless acknowledged a “surprisingly constructive and open” dialogue with Barack Obama at the first official meeting on Monday between the two men for two years.
At the UN forum, US President had already opened the door to cooperation “with all countries, including Russia and Iran” to try to find a solution to the war which destroyed Syria and made more than 240 000 deaths in four and a half years.