Why is Russia attacking ISIS in Syria

Air Strikes in Syria - Why Putin's War Makes ISIS Strong

Vladimir Putin is serious. At the side of the dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Russian president intervenes in the Syrian war and has been dropping bombs in Syria since Wednesday. Their goals: positions of the "terrorists". Allegedly.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has ironed out doubts about Russia's intentions. The "rumors" that the targets of the air strikes were not positions of the jihadist militia Islamic State (ISIS) are "unfounded," Lavrov said on Thursday after a meeting with his US colleague John Kerry in New York.

A spokesman in Moscow contradicted this on Thursday. The bombings were generally directed against a number of well-known Islamist organizations, not just against ISIS.

While the Kremlin is caught up in contradictions, the question remains: will Russia's bombs really help against ISIS?

BILD says why Putin is not (so far) weakening ISIS - on the contrary - making it even stronger.

► No air strikes on ISIS

According to unanimous reports from Western observers, but also from the Russian Defense Ministry and Assad's SANA news agency, all air strikes were directed against targets in western and central Syria.

Twenty air strikes would have hit eight ISIS positions. These are located in "al-Rastan, Talbeisa, al-Zaafran, al-Tolol al-Humr, Aydon, Deir Fol and the Salmia area," says SANA.

With this, Putin's and Assad's media unwillingly confirmed what had already been assumed: NONE of these cities is even near the areas held by ISIS in Syria, as the current BILD map (see below) shows.

► Air strikes on ISIS enemies

Most of Wednesday's Russian air strikes targeted apartment buildings in the cities of Rastan and Talibsah. At least 36 civilians were killed. At the same time, however, the Russian Air Force also attacked rebel positions, as video material from the Russian Defense Ministry shows.

The attacked rebels are the "Free Homs Brigade" of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Their commander "Al-Deek" was killed by Russia, the group reported on the Internet.

This group is one of the most moderate in all of Syria. Due to the fact that the attacked areas north of Homs have been surrounded by Assad for years, neither Islamists of the al-Nusra Front nor ISIS terrorists were able to infiltrate the group.

The brigades of the Free Syrian Army are not only fighting against Assad. They are also the mortal enemies of the ISIS terrorists they are fighting in northern and southern Syria. By having them bombed, Putin is further weakening the Syrian resistance to ISIS - and strengthening the terrorists.

The last US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, told CNN in the evening, "Russian jets are attacking the rebel group that fought ISIS a few weeks ago". Influential US Senator John McCain confirmed that the Russian air strikes hit rebels trained by the US.

► Russia prevents US strikes against ISIS

But that's not all. On Wednesday morning, Russian diplomats contacted the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

The request: The US should avoid Syrian airspace while the Russian attacks continued.

The USA and other nations have been flying air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since September 2014, thereby weakening the terrorists in many places.

Putin not only attacks the ISIS opponents, but also prevents the West from shooting at ISIS itself from the air: a double strengthening of the Islamists.

► Russian Church plays into the hands of ISIS

After the start of the Russian air strikes in Syria, the influential Russian Orthodox Church spoke up. She gave the blessing to the mission and, according to the Interfax news agency, spoke of a “holy battle”. With this martial rhetoric she plays into the hands of the ISIS extremists and feeds their propaganda.

The jihadists ("holy warriors") of ISIS see themselves in a holy war against the "infidels". They claim the West is on a religiously motivated "crusade" in the Middle East.

By using precisely these wrong terms and ideas, Russia is giving the terrorists what they need to recruit new recruits. These could not only fight in Syria, but also commit attacks in Europe or Syria.

► Conclusion

The previous Russian engagement in Syria not only strengthens the Syrian dictator Assad, but also those terrorists who have subjugated the country for years and are responsible for numerous massacres in the region.

The air strikes by Russia thus run counter to all efforts by the West to pacify Syria and to end the never-ending stream of refugees to Europe.

While international experts and think tanks have been warning of this scenario since the start of the Russian deployment in Syria, Western politicians seem to be slow to realize this.