British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says Russian support for Syria's Assad will drive all opposition groups into the hands of Islamic State. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Russia cannot fight Islamic State militants in Syria and support President Bashar al-Assad at the same time, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday (October 4). His comments came as Russia enters its fifth day of air strikes in Syria that Moscow says are intended for Islamic State targets. "If Russia wants to fight ISIL it cannot at the same time support Assad. Because Assad, with his barrel bombs and his chemical weapons and his wholesale slaughter of civilians, is the recruiting sergeant for ISIL. And Russian support for him will drive the opposition in Syria into the arms of ISIL, strengthening the evil Putin says he wants to defeat," Hammond told the Conservative Party conference in the northern city of Manchester. Russia, which began air sorties in Syria earlier this week, says it is targeting Islamic State (IS) with pinpoint accuracy. The United States and its western allies say Russian warplanes are bombing areas where IS does not hold sway and has hit western-backed insurgents.