Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Turkish government has once again expressed its criticism of Russia for violating its air space twice in two days, on October 3 and 4. Russian planes have been involved in the bombing "terrorist" positions in Syria, including the Islamic State and the Islamic militants of al-Nusra Front.
Moscow has down played the gravity of the act, admitting encroachment, but only "for a few seconds" and caused by the bad weather. NATO, defending Turkey, after an emergency meeting in Brussels, issued a statement yesterday describing the gesture as "irresponsible".
In addition to trespassing, Turkey and NATO criticized Russia for failing to target Islamic state positions, rather "Syrian opposition groups and civilians."
Western allies suspect Moscow of intervening in the Syrian conflict to support Bashar Assad, and eliminate the opponents of the Syrian leader. But Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states that the air raids are a direct response to a request from Damascus and in order to stop terrorism, which could spread to Russia and Chechnya.
The UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern about "the danger" inherent in the fact that there are "a lot of different countries and different coalitions" battling it out in the skies above Syria.
Besides Russia and Iran, which is also in support of Syria, a coalition of 50 states are part of the US-led attempts to hit Isis basis in Syria and Iraq. The coalition includes various Gulf countries. In recent weeks, France and Britain have also decided to participate directly in the air strikes. Up until now Italy had decided to carry out bombings in Iraq alone.
The two groups are particularly divided over the future of Bashar Assad. For NATO and the US-led coalition, Assad must be removed, as requested by the Syrian opposition, but also by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
Many analysts suspect that this fight against "terrorism" is actually a cover for hegemonic designs and influence on the region by the United States and Russia and by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Added to this is the fear of the Emirates and Qatar in front of a secular state (like Syria) and Ankara’s fear of a stronger Kurdish community.
The seriousness of the US-led coalition’s commitment to stopping IS terrorism was questioned yesterday by Hadi al-Ameri, a leader of the Badr militia, a Shiite party of Iraq. Speaking from the city of Najaf, he said that "To date, we have not seen a real and serious effort to combat Daesh [Arabic acronym for Isis] ... There are some who try to contain Daesh, but not really eliminate it."
" This lack of seriousness of the international coalition made us change tack. Russia is moving in a very serious way against Daesh ". Al-Ameri refers to the fact that the Iraqi government has asked Russian availability in airstrikes to bomb Isis positions.
About a year after the launch of the US-led coalition, Isis still maintains its positions in Iraq, indeed it has expanded its area of influence.