'Russia can't claim to fight ISIS terror, while supporting Assad's terror'

"These attacks led to a number of innocent victims. We demand it stop immediately and not recur," Saudi official says.

October 1, 2015 11:00
2 minute read.

Russia releases footage of airstrikes in Syria

Russia releases footage of airstrikes in Syria


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia, a leading foe of President Bashar Assad, demanded his ally Russia end its raids on Syria, saying the strikes had caused civilian casualties while failing to target the hardline Islamic State militants Moscow says it opposes.

In remarks at the United Nations in New York, a senior Saudi diplomat suggested both Russia and Assad's other main ally Iran could not claim to fight Islamic State "terrorism" at the same time as supporting the "terrorism" of the Syrian authorities.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Saudi ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi expressed "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 and its terrorist foreign allies like Hezbollah and the Quds Force and other terrorist sectarian groups," he added in comments broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.

ISIS is a common acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Lebanon's Hezbollah Shi'ite militia openly fights on behalf of Assad's government, and the Quds Force, part of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, is also widely believed to be aiding Damascus.

Russia on Wednesday launched its first air strikes in Syria since the country's civil war began in 2011, giving an hour's notice to the United States, which has led a coalition of Western allies and regional states flying missions for a year.

Russia's move looks likely to chill a tentative detente begun this year between Russia and Saudi Arabia despite their backing for opposing sides in Syria's conflict and their differences over the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

In June, the atmosphere appeared to improve when Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led a delegation of Saudi officials to Moscow and signed military and energy agreements.

The trip raised speculation about closer ties between the two countries. But that prospect now appears in question.

In an interview with al-Hayat newspaper published on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the two countries had many common interests on which to develop ties, but he noted continuing "lack of agreement" on Syria.

"I visited Russia, as did other Gulf officials. You know of the (positive) atmosphere that prevailed two months ago," Jubeir was quoted as saying. "But all of a sudden Russia stepped up its military role in Syria and announced its political position backing Assad."

Riyadh is still smarting over a Russian-Chinese veto in February 2012 of a U.N. Security Resolution drafted by the Saudis and backed by the West that Assad should step down.

It remains unclear whether Gulf Arab states would want the Syrian rebels they fund to engage Russian forces in battle - a prospect that would further upset the regional balance of power.

"The solution (in Syria) does not depend on Russia," Jubeir told al-Hayat. "The principle is, firstly, that there is no role for Bashar Assad in Syria's future. The second principle is to maintain the civil and military institutions in Syria in order to avoid chaos."

A third point was to form a transitional council of all Syrians to help Syria move to a new stage, he said.

Related Content

July 19, 2018
Sources close to Netanyahu: Trump knew the Iran nuclear deal was bad