January 20, 2016 / 11:10 AM / 2 years ago

UK's Fallon says disturbed by Russian air strikes in Syria

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain is “increasingly disturbed” by Russian air strikes on moderate opposition forces and civilians in Syria, its defense secretary said on Wednesday, adding that it was time for U.S.-led coalition forces to capitalize on recent Islamic State setbacks.

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in Manchester, Britain October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

“I am increasingly disturbed by Russian bombing,” British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said ahead of a defense ministers’ meeting in Paris to assess U.S.-led coalition efforts in Syria and Iraq.

“The casualty total keeps climbing. We have estimates of several hundred civilians killed through the use of unguided munitions on civilian areas and opposition groups fighting (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad.

“That I deplore. Propping up the Assad regime is simply prolonging the agony. On the contrary, Russia should be using its influence to make it clear that Assad has no future in Syria.”

He added that it was time to capitalize on Islamic State’s recent setbacks and tighten the noose around its Syrian bastion Raqqa.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by James Regan

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