“Include al Qaeda offshoots but also fighters backed by Washington”

Almost 80 percent of Russia’s declared targets in Syria have been in areas not held by Islamic State, a Reuters analysis of Russian Defence Ministry data shows, undermining Moscow’s assertions that its aim is to defeat the group. The majority of strikes, according to the analysis, have instead been in areas held by other groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which include al Qaeda offshoots but also fighters backed by Washington and its allies. Defence ministry statements of targets hit by the Russian Air Force and an online archive of Russian military maps show Russia has hit 64 named locations since President Vladimir Putin ordered the first round of air strikes three weeks ago”.

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