France Reveals 90% of Russian Strikes Not on ISIS

French Defense Minister reveals nearly all Russia airstrikes are hitting rebels to prop up Assad, announces second French airstrikes.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday that despite Russia's claims that its massive wave of airstrikes in Syria that began last week are targeting Islamic State (ISIS), evidence on the ground shows otherwise to a dramatic degree.

Le Drian said "80 to 90 percent" of Russian strikes in Syria were aimed at propping up President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's long-term ally, and not at ISIS.

"The Russian military action in Syria over the past 10 days does not target Daesh, their main aim is (to ensure) the security of Bashar al-Assad," he said, using an Arab acronym for ISIS.

His accusations that Russia is striking Syrian rebels instead of ISIS terrorists echoes the US State Department, which said Wednesday that most of Russia's barrage of airstrikes in Syria are not hitting ISIS terrorists.

In the first Russian strikes against the Homs and Hama districts of the country, an unnamed American official later said the targets were US-backed "moderate" rebel groups fighting ISIS.

On Thursday a US official revealed that four Russian cruise missiles aimed for Syria fell short and hit Iran; Russia denied the report.

Le Drian also announced that French warplanes carried out a second wave of strikes overnight on ISIS targets in Syria.

"Two Rafale jets dropped bombs on an ISIS training camp. The objectives were accomplished," he told Europe 1 radio, adding that further air strikes would follow.

French President Francois Hollande said this week that failure to act in Syria risks stoking a "total war" in the Middle East. France carried out it first air strikes in Syria on September 27.

AFP contributed to this report.