Report: Russian Airstrikes in Syria Were Aimed at CIA-Backed Rebels

Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter planes arrive at Iraq’s al-Muthanna military airbase at Baghdad airport, in Baghdad, July 1, 2014. Stringer/Reuters


Updated| A Russian airstrike in Syria on Wednesday was aimed at anti-regime rebels backed by the CIA and other intelligence services, U.S. officials told to The Wall Street Journal. 

Targeting American-backed fighters, who are trying to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Journal reports, could increase tensions between Washington and Moscow at time when the two countries share a common enemy: the Islamic State (ISIS).

American officials, who were not named in the article, told the newspaper they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military goal in Syria is to support the Assad regime against its enemies. Those enemies include fighters who the CIA has reportedly been backing since 2013. It’s not clear if any of the agency-backed rebels were killed on Wednesday.

The Russian airstrikes hit locations in Homs and Hamas, both provinces in the center of the country, on Wednesday. While official Syrian media said ISIS controlled those areas, earlier in the day, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Russia may not have targeted ISIS.

Full article: Report: Russian Airstrikes in Syria Were Aimed at CIA-Backed Rebels (Newsweek)

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