Russia says airstrikes conducted by the US-led coalition purportedly fighting terrorists in Syria “have been exacerbating the situation” in the Arab country and increased the “civilian death toll.”

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that the airstrikes were “ill-conceived” as they kill more civilians than terrorists.

“In fact, these air raids have been exacerbating the situation in Syria, increasing the civilian death toll and spreading chaos and destruction which benefit militants of the Islamic State (Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups, as well as their affiliated units,” said Zakharova in a statement, referring to two major terror groups in Syria.

“We are concerned over a series of the coalition’s airstrikes in Syria,” Zakharova said, adding, “We condemn these ill-conceived attacks as they have nothing to do with the fight against terrorism.”

The Russian official made reference to some of such air raids, including one carried out on May 25 in al-Mayadin, where 35 civilians were killed, and another targeting an area in the south of the city of Raqqah on May 27, which left 20 civilians killed.

A video grab made from handout footage taken in Moscow on April 7, 2017 and released by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova making a statement on a US strike on a government air base in Syria. (via AFP)

The official also reiterated Russia’s previous calls on the United States and other Western governments involved in the conflict in Syria to do more to combat terrorism.

“We once again call on our counterparts to join efforts in the fight against terrorism, so that all interested parties could close ranks in order to eliminate this global scourge,” she said.

The US-led coalition began operations in 2014 in Iraq with an alleged objective of fighting Daesh, which had overrun parts of the country. The operations were later expanded into northern Syria without any authorization from the Syrian government. Damascus says the continued campaign is a violation of the Syrian territorial integrity.

Russia is also involved militarily in Syria. It began targeting positions of Daesh and other militant groups in September 2015 upon a request from the Syrian government demanding assistance in the fight against terrorism.


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