Syria’s foreign minister has accused the United States of having a “dual policy” on anti-government militants in his country by fighting some and supporting others.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Walid al-Moualem said his government stands with the international effort to combat the Islamic State group.
But referring to anti-government groups seen as moderate by Washington, he said backing them creates what he called “fertile ground” for the continued growth of extremism in the region.
Now in its fourth year of a deadly civil war, Syria is one of two fronts where a U.S.-led coalition is bombing extremist militants in an effort to push them back.
Kurdish local militias in northern Syria continued to clash with Islamic State forces on Monday, defending the town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, near the Turkish border.
The fighting has created an exodus of Syrian Kurds into Turkey, which has strengthened its military presence on the border.
The U.S. Central Command said Sunday and Monday’s strikes in Syria hit targets near Aleppo, near Raqqa, near Manbij and in Deir el Zour. The strikes hit Islamic State vehicles, an anti-aircraft artillery transport, two compounds, a training camp and a grain storage facility. The United Arab Emirates and Jordan participated in the latest round of coalition attacks.
In Iraq, the U.S. military said three airstrikes hit IS vehicles near Kirkuk, Sinjar and elsewhere in the country’s northwest.
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States “underestimated” the rise of Islamic State and other Syrian-based militants, and “overestimated” Iraq’s ability to fight them.
Obama told CBS television’s 60 Minutes Sunday it is a myth that if the United States had armed the moderate Syrian rebels two years ago, as some in Washington urged, Syria would be fine today.
The president blamed the situation in Iraq, in part, on former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama said the prime minister squandered an opportunity to unify the country and showed more interest in consolidating Shi’ite support than forming a unity government with the Sunnis and Kurds.