The U.S. warned Russia over the weekend that its military buildup in Syria could further escalate the conflict in the region.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “to discuss Syria, including U.S. concerns about reports suggesting an imminent enhanced Russian military buildup there,” the State Department said in a statement. “The secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria,” the statement continued.
ISIL is the Obama administration acronym for ISIS, or Da’esh. The two men agreed to continue their conversation at the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month.
According to American intelligence reports, Russia has delivered prefab housing for hundreds of people and a portable air traffic station to an airfield near Latakia.
The U.S. government warned that Russian air strikes could interfere with current operations being conducted by the United States-led coalition against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria.
It is also possible that Russian operations could strike opposition forces the Americans support.
The United States and Russia have very different ideas about how to solve the crisis in Syria; on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for “early elections” in Syria and suggested bringing “healthy” elements of the opposition to a new coalition government.
But Putin, who had first cleared his plan with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, did not specify which opposition elements would be acceptable.