Russia condemns U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Syria

The Kremlin has no trouble with the intended target — like the United States, Russia wants the Islamic State destroyed and thinks it must be defeated in Syria and Iraq.

But as Syria’s unofficial patron and interlocutor in international discussions about how to confront the Islamic State, Russia is insistent that U.S. measures to target militants in Syria lack authority without buy-in from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — a point Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon Tuesday…

“There’s quite widespread suspicion here that the U.S. will start to bomb the Islamic State but will end up bombing the Syrian army,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a Moscow-based analyst and head of an advisory panel to the Kremlin on foreign and defense policy. “Russia is certainly not keen on making the situation in the Middle East more difficult for Americans than it is. But why help them? . . . It doesn’t seem to be in Russia’s interest to get directly involved.”