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Russia accuses US of providing air cover for Daesh in Syria

Smoke billows following a US-led airstrike on Syria’s city of Raqqah on July 17, 2017. (AFP photo)

The Russian Defense Ministry has accused the US of only pretending to fight terrorism in the Middle East, saying it has “conclusive evidence” that Washington provides air cover for Daesh in Syria.

In a Tuesday statement, the ministry said the US air force has sought to hinder Russian strikes on Daesh Takfiri terrorists near the Syrian town of al-Bukamal.

"These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units," the statement pointed out.

Moscow and Washington support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict. Russia assists the Syrian government and has been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign against terrorist positions in Syria.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

Syrian government forces patrol in the eastern city of Dayral-Zawr on November 4, 2017. (AFP photo)

In early October, the Russian Defense Ministry  accused the US forces of providing intelligence to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in eastern Syria, saying Washington’s “flirtation” with the terrorists is the “main obstacle” to eradicate Daesh in Syria.

The accusations came after a group of Syrian forces came under a series of attacks by Daesh in the province of Dayr al-Zawr, where Syria is trying to push the terrorists out of their last strongholds in the region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the attacks on the Syrian government forces had come from an area near the border with Jordan where the US maintains a military mission.

The ministry noted that Daesh had the precise coordinates of the Syrian forces before the attack and that such information could only have been obtained through aerial reconnaissance.

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