The Russian military has fired back at US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter over his allegations that its forces did “virtually zero” to fight the Islamic State in Syria.
Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said the reality was that it was the US which had achieved little more than civilian casualties in its 30-month bombing campaign against the Islamic State.
The Russian air force in Syria flew 19,160 sorties against Islamic State positions in the past 15 month whereas the US flew only 6,500, he said.
Gerasimov told journalists that Russian air power carried out 71,000 strikes against Islamic State training camps, ammunition dumps, oil production centers, as well as other facilities.
Carter had on Sunday told NBC’s Meet the Press that the US was left to fight the Islamic State on its own.
“They came in, they said they were going to fight ISIL, and they said they were going to help in the civil war in Syria … They haven’t done either of those things,” he said.
But Russia maintains that its involvement in the Syria conflict since September 30, 2015 helped turn the course of the war around, help the Syrian Army recapture Aleppo and force “moderate” opposition forces not affiliated with Al-Qaeda or ISIL to the negotiating table.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Carter picked the wrong country to direct his criticism.
In fact, Shoigu said, intervention in Syria by the US-led coalition “turned things for the worse, to our deep regret we saw no support from it”.
“And that required us to brace all of our resources and capabilities, to dispatch a large group to Syria, including an aircraft carrier-led group and extra aerospace resources and military police as well,” he added.
Source: BRICS Post