US warns Russia against military build-up in Syria
The United State has warned Russia against building up its military presence in Syria saying it could lead to a conflation with the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition.world Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:53 IST
The United State on Saturday warned Russia against building up its military presence in Syria saying it could escalate the conflict and even lead to a conflation with the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition.
The US also said Russian presence could lead to more civilian deaths and increase the outflow of refugees, whose increasing numbers have overwhelmed Europe in recent days.
Secretary of state John Kerry conveyed US concerns, with the warning, in a phone call to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the state department said in a statement.
Russia has sent an advance military team and material for hundreds of prefabricated housing units near an airfield in recent days, US media reports have said, citing intelligence sources.
Russia has also moved a portable air traffic control station to the airfield and filed overflight permission requests to countries en route — also in recent days.
The state department said Kerry told Lavrov that “if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-IS coalition operating in Syria”.
The threat of a confrontation with the anti-IS coalition was a clear indication of what it meant — a confrontation with the US itself, as it leads the coalition.
The coalition consists of regional allies Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Turkey and western allies the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.
The two leaders decided to continue the discussions when they meet next in New York, during the coming UN General Assembly meetings.
The US and Russia are on opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. While the US sees Bashar al-Assad’s exit central to a political solution, Russia wants him, an ally, continue in power, heading a government including members of the opposition.
First Published: Sep 06, 2015 21:21 IST