Saudi Arabia is demanding that Russia stop its military involvement in Syria, stating that Russia is not targeting the Islamic State. ISIS members have not been present in areas attacked by Russia.
Most experts believe that Russia is trying to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power by targeting Syrian rebel groups. Many of these rebel groups are allies of the United States.
Saudi Arabian diplomat Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said at the United Nations, “The delegation of my country expresses its profound concern regarding the military operations which Russian forces have carried out in Homs and Hama today, places where ISIS forces are not present. These attacks led to a number of innocent victims. We demand it stop immediately and not recur. As for those countries that have claimed recently to join in the fight against ISIS terrorism, they can't do that at the same time as they support the terrorism of the Syrian regime.”
At the same time, Russia reportedly killed 27 people in airstrikes against the western Syria city of Homs. Six children were among the dead, and dozens more were wounded.
Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that the United States will welcome Russian involvement in Syria, as long as the attacks are against ISIS and groups of Al-Qaeda.
However, Russia has insisted that its airstrikes in Syria were against the same terrorist organizations that were targeted by the United States. The country described the allegations as a “war of disinformation”.
Both the United States and Russia have agreed on the need to fight ISIS. However, there is disagreement about whether or not to allow Assad to remain as president of Syria. The United States wants to force him out of his current position, while Russia wants to keep him there.
The civil war in Syria started as an uprising against President Assad. So far, more than 250,000 people have died in the conflict. Additionally, millions of refugees have been forced out of their homes, causing a large influx of refugees in Europe.
Meanwhile, ISIS has entered into the conflict, and more than 5,000 airstrikes have taken place. The war has certainly taken on a dangerous new dimension with Russia now involved in the conflict as well.