September 18, 2015 / 4:58 PM / in 2 years

Russia tells U.S.: Syria activity 'defensive in nature'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his U.S. counterpart on Friday that Moscow’s military activities in Syria were “defensive in nature,” a senior U.S. defense official said after the 50-minute phone call.

Residents sit on a couch on a balcony of a damaged building in Aleppo's al-Shaar neighboirhood, Syria, August 1, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

“He said that the Russian activities were defensive in nature and that they were designed to honor commitments made to the Syrian government,” the official said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, without elaborating.

Washington has voiced concern about Russia’s military buildup in Syria, which the Pentagon has said appears to be designed at establishing an air operations hub in the country.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Eric Walsh

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