September 23, 2014 / 9:02 AM / 5 years ago

Russia: airstrikes must be agreed with Syria or will fuel tension

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia criticized the U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State’s positions in Syria on Tuesday, saying they should have been agreed with its ally Damascus and would fuel tension in the region.

The United States, which has long called for the dismissal of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and several Gulf Arab allies carried out the first air and missile strikes on Islamic State strongholds in Syria.

“Any such action can be carried out only in accordance with international law,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“That implies not a formal, one-sided ‘notification’ of airstrikes but the presence of explicit consent from the government of Syria or the approval of a corresponding U.N. Security Council decision.”

Washington, which has also carried out airstrikes in Iraq that were agreed with Baghdad, has said it will not coordinate its plans with Damascus, which it accuses of using chemical weapons against rebels fighting to oust Assad since early 2011.

“Attempts to achieve one’s own geopolitical goals in violation of the sovereignty of countries in the region only exacerbate tensions and further destabilize the situation,” the ministry said.

The Western-backed Syrian opposition, which is fighting both Assad and Islamic State, welcomed the airstrikes, which it said would help defeat Assad.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Katya Golubkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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