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McCain claims Russian air strikes hit US-backed Syrian rebels


Syria

McCain claims Russian air strikes hit US-backed Syrian rebels

The US Senator John McCain has accused Russia of targeting Free Syrian Army rebel recruits backed by Washington.

In an interview with CNN, McCain, who is head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the Russian air strikes have hit forces that have been “armed and trained by the CIA because we have communications with people there.”

For the second successive day, Russian warplanes have bombed rebel positions.

Russia’s defence ministry has released footage to show the precision of its strikes against what it originally claimed were purely Islamic State militant ground positions. After other rebel fighters and the US claimed disputed this, a Kremlin spokesman clarified that a list of “well-known” terrorist group were being targeted.

Moscow says ammunition depots and a command centre near Hama were hit along with a facility aimed at rigging cars with explosives for suicide attacks.

According to some reports, the jets conducted at least 30 sorties targeting the so-called “Army of Conquest”, an alliance of insurgents including al Qaeda’s Nusra Front but not Islamic State.

But pro-opposition sources say the strikes hit other areas in Jisr al Shugour, Idlib and Hama provinces, strategic zones for maintaining a presence and protecting the coast.

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