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Syrian crisis: Russia air strikes 'strengthen IS'

October 2, 2015 7:11 pm

US President Barack Obama has said the Russian bombing campaign in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad is driving moderate opposition underground and “only strengthening” Islamic State.

Mr Obama said he rejected the Russian assertion that all armed opponents of the “brutal” Mr Assad were terrorists.

Moscow insists its air strikes – which began on Wednesday – are targeting IS.

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But the Syrian opposition and others have suggested non-IS rebels are bearing the brunt of Russian attacks.

Russia said its aircraft had hit IS command centres, arms depots and military vehicles. Targets included the IS stronghold of Raqqa, but also Aleppo, Hama and Idlib – provinces with little IS presence.

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