Russia accuses US of pretending to fight Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its air strikes in Iraq to allow the group’s militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army, reported Reuters.

In the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and Washington, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that the US-led coalition had sharply reduced its air strikes in Iraq in September when Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, had started to retake Deir al-Zor Province.

Military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the Syrian regime was attempting to push the jihadists out of eastern Deir Ezzor province, but that arrivals from Iraq were boosting their numbers.

“The US-led coalition, pretending to fight IS, largely in Iraq, sees all this but continues allegedly active measures against IS in Syria for some reason,” he said.

“The continuing arrival of terrorists from Iraq raises serious questions about the anti-terrorist objectives of the US air force and the so-called ‘international coalition’.”