“Russia’s military actions in Syria are aimed at protecting the Bashar Assad regime,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Defense Minister, in an interview with Europe 1.
“80 to 90% of what Russians are doing in Syria militarily is not aimed against ISIS. Their top priority is protecting Bashar al Assad,” said the Minister.
According to Le Drian, that is precisely where interests of Russia and France diverge, because France is targeting ISIS.
“Our major enemy is ISIS. In Syria, this terrorist grouping can stage assaults, train foreign militants and launch strikes,” Le Drian said.
The French Minister went on to say that Assad is an enemy of the Syrian people and should therefore be deposed.
He also talked about the difficulties of launching airstrikes on ISIS-held positions.
“The Islamic State is organized in such a way that children, women and peaceful civilians stay at the frontline, while its leaders hide themselves in schools, mosques and hospitals. This makes the job of the international coalition, France and other Syria’s partners more difficult because we do not wish to cause any collateral damage,” said the French Defense Minister.