Russia in Syria for International Press

Spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the Russian planes did not target civilian facilities or their vicinity in Syria. (Sputnik news)

In a dramatic escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has launched a series of airstrikes that it said were aimed at Islamic State terrorists but which mainly appeared to hit less extreme groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime. (The Guardian)

But U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter countered that claim. “I want to be careful about confirming information, but it does appear that they (Russian airstrikes) were in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces,” he told reporters. ISIL is another acronym for ISIS. (CNN)

“It’s very important that Russia is able to confirm…that the military action it has undertaken in Syria this morning is directed at ISIL (“Islamic State”) and al-Qaeda affiliated targets only and not at moderate opponents of the Assad regime,” Hammond told the Security Council. (Deutsche Welle)

But French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said “initial indications” show the airstrikes did not target zones controlled by the Islamic State group. (France24)

“Russia should stop the strikes in Syria”, US to the world. (Corriere della Sera)

“The northern countryside of Hama has no presence of ISIS at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army,” Major Jamil al-Saleh, who defected from the Syrian army in 2012, told Reuters via telephone. (Al Arabiya)

Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church has reportedly voiced support for Moscow’s decision to carry out air strikes, telling the Russian Interfax news agency it was a “holy battle”. (Al Jazeera)