Russia accuses US of "pretending" to fight ISIS in Iraq/Syria
Russia has accused the US-led coalition of "pretending" to fight ISIS and of deliberately cutting down on its airstrikes in Iraq to allow the outfit's fighters to cross into Syria to push back the advancing Russian-backed Syrian army. The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry is another indication of the simmering tensions and attempts at geopolitical one-upmanship between Moscow and Washington.
What the Russian Defense Ministry said?
Russia said the US-led coalition is "pretending" to fight ISIS in Iraq but for some reason is continuing to target the militant outfit in Syria. As a result, the ISIS militants have deployed in large numbers from the Iraqi border to the Deir al-Zor Province in Syria. Russian-backed Syrian troops have been battling ISIS at Deir al-Zor but it keeps getting foreign "reinforcements" daily.
Russia said the US-led coalition's actions demand an explanation
Moscow has demanded an explanation from the US-led coalition. Moscow questioned whether the US' changed tactics are aimed at complicating the Syrian army operation backed by Russian air power to recapture Deir al-Zor. "Or is it an artful move to drive Islamic State terrorists out of Iraq by forcing them into Syria and into the path of the Russian air force's pinpoint bombing?"
Russia looking to discredit US' anti-ISIS efforts
Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry had accused the US of being the last big hurdle standing in the way of ISIS' destruction. Russia's statements against the US-led coalition are aimed at discrediting the latter's anti-ISIS efforts. They are also aimed at highlighting the ineffectiveness of Washington's Middle East policy, particularly its support for Syrian rebels and opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.