Russia, US, avoiding each other in Syria skies


Photo Courtesy of MCT Photo

Russia has launched its first pinpoint air strikes against eight Islamic State targets on Sept. 30, 2015 in Syria. Attack jets have hit arms depots, combat vehicles, command and communication centres. All the targets were struck. In the mountainous area, ISIS command point and operations centre were completely destroyed. Video screen grab. (TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor

Turmoil in Syria for the past four years has attracted large amounts of attention. The rebel group IS, or ISIS, caused concerns last year with the beheading of American journalists. Even more recently, the migrant crisis in Europe is in large part due to the millions displaced by the Syrian Civil War.

On Sept. 30, Russia began airstrikes in Syria to aid their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, against Assad’s enemies/militant rebels, IS. While the US is also targeting IS, it also believes in the displacement of Assad.

According to NPR, US Secretary of State John Kerry said,” It remains to be seen what their [Russia’s] full strategy is in Syria. … If Russia is there to go after ISIL, and to in fact help prevent the takeover of the country and to secure a political track that could result in the end of the war, that could be positive.”
However, there have been concerns as to whom Russia is actually targeting. On Oct. 19, Russian air strikes on Latakia province killed at least 45 people, many of whom were civilians. There was not a large jihadist presence in that area.
Kerry said, “If Russia is there to uphold Assad, and fake it with respect to the extremists and terrorists, that’s a serious problem.”
Recently, Russian and American combat air crafts were within 10-20 miles of one another. Russia gave the US short notice before beginning strikes. On Oct. 20, the two countries signed a deal to avoid each other in the air. Still, there will not be coordination or exchanges of information.
Sophomore Jasmine Male said, “I don’t understand why they’re going through all this trouble. Wouldn’t it be most effective if they all just work together?”
Jenna Bao