DAMASCUS/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin has sharply criticized Russian bombing raids in Syria. In a joint declaration with governments of several allied countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the German government claims the Russian Air Force did not target the “Islamic State” (IS) but the “Syrian opposition and civilians,” and calls on Moscow to “immediately cease” these attacks. Russian bombers, however, have not only hit bases of the IS and other jihadi militias, but also the facilities of western-armed combatants, participating in the al-Nusra Front’s offensive. Al-Nusra is the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, the primary target in the West’s post 9/11 “War on Terror.” The Russian air raids highlight a significant increase of Moscow’s influence in the Middle East and the growing influence of non-Western powers in world affairs. They are another blow to western global hegemony.