MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova - The use of airstrikes alone cannot defeat the Islamic State (IS) movement and its advance, Former Russian Ambassador to Libya Veniamin Popov said Thursday, adding that Washington is reaping the fruits of its own policy in Syria.
“Airstrikes alone are not enough to win against the Islamic State organization,” Popov said. “This is the US that lifted the lid, because they actively tried to overthrow [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and thought that all means are good. So that, they directly or indirectly supported the terrorist organizations [in Syria]. And they got what they created,” Popov said at a press conference on the IS held at news agency Rossiya Segodnya’s press center.
Another participant of the Thursday discussion, Vladimir Evseev, head of the CIS Institute’s Caucasus department, reiterated concerns that the fight against IS will last for a long time.
“I do not see the possibility of winning against the Islamic State in the nearest future. Because in reality, there is no one to fight for the coalition on the ground,” Evseev said, adding that Turkey is unlikely to send troops to Syria.
“Only the Syrian National Army is capable of fighting against the Islamic State. But if the US wants to overthrow Bashar Assad, it is obvious that there will be no cooperation between the coalition forces and Syrian army.”
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. The United States has always supported the opposition’s fight against Assad.
Washington said its pledge to support the opposition in Syria only includes moderate Islamists.
In June 2014, the IS group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
Following the group’s advance, the United States and its allies launched airstrikes against IS insurgents fighting on the Iraqi soil in August. The military action was subsequently extended to Syria with international coalition taking part in air raids.