Kerry: Russian aircraft in Syria consistent with 'force protection'

By REUTERS
September 23, 2015 22:39

 
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The US military has assessed that the type of Russian aircraft in Syria is consistent with protecting their own forces, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday and called on Russia and Iran to be helpful in ending the four-year conflict.

"For the moment it is the judgment of our military and experts that the level and type represents basically force protection," Kerry told reporters.

However, depending on Russia's long-term decisions, the presence of Russian aircraft in Syria could raise some questions about Moscow's intentions, he added.

Kerry said while both the United States and Russia want the Islamic State defeated in Syria, Washington believed Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad was attracting foreign fighters who want Assad to go.

Still, Kerry repeated that Russia's intentions in Syria were unclear and called on both Moscow and Tehran to help with diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.

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