The United States "does not associate" with Russia in the ongoing conflict against ISIS in Syria because its recent actions in that country have been "pouring gasoline on the Civil War," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told Fusion's Jorge Ramos in an interview on Thursday.
Noting the conspicuous absence of Russia for an upcoming meeting that hopes to build a a broader coalition against the terrorist organization, Ramos asked Carter why the country will not be involved.
"Russia could get [into the coalition] if they're on the right strategic track. Russia came into Syria saying they wanted to combat ISIL but what they actually were doing was propping up [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad]," Carter said, using the Obama Administration's preferred acronym for the terrorist group.
Since Russian airstrikes in Syria began in September of last year, claims have mounted that the nation is targeting schools and civilians in areas that are controlled by Syria's non-ISIS affiliated opposition. In effect, these actions are seen by much of the international community as not fighting terrorism, but overtly supporting a tyrannical government. Many coalition-affiliated governments, including the U.S., France, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, have condemned the airstrikes.
"Assad is the cause of the civil war in Syria, which is what fuels ISIL in Syria. So even though they said they were trying to fight ISIL, they were actually pouring gasoline on the Civil War," Carter continued.
"That is a mistake in strategy on their part and therefore we don't associate ourselves with them," he said.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.