During the latest Democratic Debate Thursday, Hillary Clinton defended her reservations towards Russia by claiming that the Russians “have not gone after ISIS or any of the other terrorist groups.”
Clinton’s statement was in response to comments made by rival Bernie Sanders when he was asked if he was prepared to “move militarily” against Russia, or to “institute further economic sanctions.”
Sanders called the United States’ relationship with Russia “complicated,” and said that although he believes the U.S. should “do our best in developing positive relations with Russia,” he also stands by President Obama in believing that President Putin needs to be shown that his “aggressiveness is not going to go unmatched.”
In response, Clinton said she believes an agreement on a cease-fire is “something that has to be implemented more quickly than the schedule that the Russians agreed to.”
“You know, the Russians wanted to buy time. Are they buying time to continue their bombardment on behalf of the Assad regime to further decimate what’s left of the opposition, which would be a grave disservice to any kind of eventual cease-fire?”
Clinton also said she disagreed with Sanders when he “called for Iranian troops trying to end civil war in Syria,” would be a “grave mistake,” and that while she supports Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry, she hopes to “accelerate the cease fire.”
Clinton said she is worried that the Russian are doing “everything they can to destroy what’s left of the opposition,” and she claimed that “the Russians have not gone after ISIS or any of the other terrorist groups.”
“So let’s support what Secretary Kerry and the president are doing, but let’s hope that we can accelerate the cease-fire, because I fear that the Russians will continue their bombing, try to do everything they can to destroy what’s left of the opposition. And remember, the Russians have not gone after ISIS or any of the other terrorist groups.”
Russia began launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria in Sept. 2015. Syrian State media claimed the airstrikes began after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad requested help, and that the move was criticized by the U.S.
In Nov. 2015, Mohammad Ali al-Hakim of Iraq’s al-Nakhil news agency reported that following a barrage Russian airstrikes, ISIS “only has 34 bases in Mosul, Raqqa, etcetera,” claiming that “the end of the [ISIS] which has been borne by the westerners is close.”
A report from Reuters on Jan. 20 claimed that Russian airstrikes in Syria are gradually weakening both ISIS militants and the Free Syrian Army, allowing Assad to gain more power and to make “one of its most significant gains since the start of the Russian intervention,” by capturing the town of Salma in Latakia province.