The U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes against Islamic State group in Syria is ineffective, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Sunday, adding that the coalition had “achieved nothing.”
According to Mekdad, the militant group “has become stronger in both Iraq and Syria under the American war against terrorism." He said it was indispensable to involve the Syrian government in the campaign against the militant forces.
U.S. officials earlier said that the Pentagon’s training program for Syrian rebels against ISIS was far from reaching its original goals. The U.S. military was supposed to train thousands of fighters in the first year. However, a U.S. general told the Senate last week that only around five of them were on the battlefield.
"Russia is helping Syria and this is the main source of armament of our army," Russia's Tass news agency quoted Mekdad as saying. "Russian military support does help our capacity." He said the Russian support would help the “Syrian army advance in the struggle against terrorists."
While Mekdad acknowledged Russia’s support for the Assad regime, he said that Russian had not deployed troops in Syria yet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that Russia would not hesitate to send troops to Syria if Damascus asked for help.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 75 fighters trained by Turkish, British and U.S. forces had entered northern Syria. The CNN reported that the fighters, who had crossed over from Turkey, were located in the northern areas of the Aleppo city. The fighters are equipped with four-wheel-drive vehicles mounted with ammunition and machine guns.
Western powers back certain “moderate” rebel groups in Syria. The groups have been fighting against both ISIS and the Syrian government while the Assad regime is supported by the Russian government.