Russia vehemently defends Syrian airstrikes and denies targeting U.S.-backed rebels

Russia vehemently defends Syrian airstrikes and denies targeting U.S.-backed rebels
(Image: Sergei Karpukhin/File-Pool Photo via AP)

Russian officials vehemently defended the country’s airstrike campaign in Syria Thursday, denying reports of civilian deaths and Western accusations that the country was targeting U.S.-backed rebels instead of the Islamic State.

Gennady Zyuganov, a member of parliament and leader of Russia’s Communist party, called the accusations “total rubbish.”

Vasily Likhachov, from Russia’s lower house of parliament, described the claims as“the latest anti-Russian attack” after “the pendulum of public international opinion had swung back in the direction of Russia,” the Interfax news service reported.

The Russian ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, said Moscow’s intervention came after a year of airstrikes by the U.S. and its partners had failed to dislodge Islamic State extremists in Syria, the Associated Press reported from Paris.

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