Has Russia started to arm one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups in Syria? A pair of Hezbollah commanders have told The Daily Beast that Moscow is providing them with laser-guided rockets, long-range missiles and more. One of the commanders even said they and Russia are “strategic allies” according to The Daily Beast report, while the other commander claimed the Russians aren’t stopping Hezbollah from using their weapons—even if that’s against Israel.
The Daily Beast noted it wasn’t clear if the commander was ranked high enough to know for certain what the Russians have or haven’t told the terror group. Still, the picture painted is a symbiotic relationship between the Russians and Hezbollah in the fight to save the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime in that nation’s civil war. The Americans certainly don’t think Russia is in Syria just to fight ISIS (ISIL).
Separately from The Daily Beast report, US spokesman John Kirby said in comments released by the State Department on Monday that the US believes the overwhelming majority of Russian attacks aren’t hitting ISIS targets.
“This remains a concern—what they’re hitting, and just as importantly, what they’re not hitting,” said Kirby of the Russians. “And we still maintain that some 70 percent of their strikes are being conducted generic valium description against either opposition groups or innocent targets, civilian targets.”
Regarding that last point, Kirby expressed concern about “reports of civilian casualties caused by Russian airstrikes and collateral damage, damage done to facilities that are primarily for innocent civilians, whether it’s schools, hospitals, or homes. This is not a new concern and it’s a concern that I can assure you we routinely raise with Russian counterparts.”
And who is helping Russia find and hit their targets? According to Hezbollah, it’s the terror group. The Daily Beast report said one Hezbollah commander said that Hezbollah fighters have been key in giving the Russian air force information on the ground in the Syrian fight, while Russian air strikes have been critical in backing the terror group’s ground forces.
In other words, Russia is reportedly working hand-in-hand and even arming terrorists, all while spending most of their attacks on targets other than ISIS.
And since they’re not striking ISIS like they should be, the US believes Moscow should be getting tough questions about what’s really happening in their Syrian bombing campaign.
“They should be held to account for the progress and the success or failure of their military targeting in Syria,” said Kirby. “It’s their responsibility to answer for what they’re hitting, what they’re not hitting. That said, we’re not going to shy away from discussing our concerns.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 11, 2016)