Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov adresses to his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop (not pictured) during their meeting in Moscow, September 9, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)
If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“There are reasons to suspect that air strikes on Syrian territory may target not only areas controlled by Islamic State militants, but the government troops may also be attacked on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army,” Lavrov said Tuesday.
Such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with the foreign minister of Mali.
Moscow is urging the West to respect international law and undertake such acts only with the approval of the legitimate government of a state, Lavrov said.
“Not a single country should have its own plans on such issues. There can be only combined, collective, univocal actions. Only this way can a result be achieved,” he said.
His comments came shortly after Washington announced plans to go on the offensive against the Islamic State jihadist group. The US military has already launched over 100 airstrikes against militant targets in Iraq, including a new series that the military said killed an unusually large number of Islamic State fighters, AP reported.