US military condemns Russian airstrikes in Syria

US military condemns Russian airstrikes in Syria
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The U.S. military on Wednesday condemned Russia's airstrike campaign in Syria, which has been stepped up in recent days on the rebel-held city of Aleppo.

"What we have seen is recklessness, indiscriminate strikes, primarily using dumb bombs, with really — what I would refer to as a strategically short-sighted vision of operations inside of Syria," said Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.


The Red Cross estimates 50,000 Syrians have been displaced from the northern part of the Aleppo province, according to the Associated Press.

Warren also said Russia dropped more than 200 bombs over two days in Syria during the last round of peace negotiations in Geneva to end the civil war. 

U.S. military officials in recent weeks have acknowledged that Russia's airstrike campaign in Syria is helping to shore up the Bashar Assad regime, which is fighting both the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Western-backed rebels. 

However, they say, the U.S. military campaign remains focused on fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — not the Assad regime. 

"This military coalition is focused on defeating Daesh," said Warren, using a derogatory Arabic name for the group. "There really — it's humanitarian providers, it's the other elements of government that are focused on providing humanitarian support." 

The Syrian opposition refused to join the United Nations-brokered talks that began late last month, calling for the regime to stop its airstrike campaign first. On Wednesday, however, it said it would join the next round of talks when they resume Feb. 25, according to Al Arabiya News. 

Russia began its air campaign in September, claiming it was targeting ISIS and other terrorists. However, it has also targeted opposition forces instead. 

"The Russians, early on, they claimed that they were interested in fighting [ISIS]. But we simply have not seen that," Warren said.

"So, the words and their actions do not align. The Russian actions have done nothing except prop up Bashar al-Assad, who we know is the root of the problem in Syria. And we don't see a future Syria that has Assad in it," he said.