PARIS Russian air strikes in Syria must clearly target only Islamic State, France’s foreign ministry said on Monday in response to inquiries more than current raids by Moscow on opposition groups in the north of the nation.
Soon after traveling to the Russian capital on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande stated he had agreed with his counterpart Vladimir Putin that these attacks would only hit Islamic State and similar jihadi groups in Syria.
The West has accused Moscow of mainly targeting Western-backed rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Asked about strikes considering that Friday on ethnic Turkmen regions near the Syrian-Turkish border, foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal mentioned: “There can be no possible ambiguity on the objectives being pursued, which have to only target the destruction of Daesh (Islamic State).”
Given that Hollande’s pay a visit to, tensions between Russia and Turkey over a downed Russian fighter jet have elevated. Russian air strikes in northwest Syria have heavily targeted ethnic Turkmen regions, according to a Reuters information analysis of Russian defense ministry data.
Ankara has traditionally expressed solidarity with the Syrian Turkmen, who are Syrians of Turkish descent.
(Reporting by John Irish Editing by Tom Heneghan)