World powers call for united front to battle Isis

December 4, 2015 6:43 am

warplanes carried out airstrikes in Syria early Thursday, hours after
Parliament voted to authorize air attacks against targets there.
Photo AP Pavlos Vrionides

As British jets opened airstrikes against the Islamic State group in
Syria and prepared to send troops and aircraft to the region,
’s president called on the world Thursday to brandish “one
powerful fist” in the fight against .
Yet even as international efforts to defeat the extremists grew, animosity between Russia and Turkey only intensified.
after ’s Parliament authorized military action in Syria, its
Tornado warplanes struck oil fields in eastern Syria that help finance
Isis. “This strikes a very real blow at the oil and the revenue on which
the Daesh terrorists depend,” Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the
BBC, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Both the -led coalition
and Russian warplanes have struck the extremists’ oil facilities and
Russia has drawn heated international attention to the issue by accusing
Turkish authorities of profiting from oil trade with Isis – allegations
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly denied.

The Russian allegations came after last week’s downing by
Turkey of a Russian warplane near the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey
insists the plane had violated its airspace, but Russia vehemently
rejects that contention.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his
state-of-the-nation address, accused Turkey of “a treacherous war
crime” and bitingly suggested “Allah must have punished Turkey’s ruling
clique by depriving it of sense and reason.”
Germany on Thursday
prepared to send reconnaissance aircraft to the Middle East as coalition
forces stepped up efforts to fight the militants. In all, up to 1200
German soldiers would be deployed to support the international coalition
fighting the Islamic State group. Two Tornados and a tanker could be
sent to Turkey’s Incirlik air base next week if the German Parliament
approves the mission Friday as expected.
German Defense Minister
Ursula von der Leyen said the mission would have three components: to
protect French naval operations, to provide intelligence though
reconnaissance aircraft and satellite observation, and to offer
logistical support like in-air refueling for allied planes.
goal… is to fight and contain IS, and destroy their safe havens and
their ability to lead worldwide terror operations,” she told reporters
in Berlin before heading to Ankara for talks with her Turkish
France welcomed the first British airstrikes in
Syria, saying they were a sign of the European solidarity promised after
the deadly November 13 attacks on Paris claimed by IS militants.
a statement Thursday, French President Francois Hollande said the
British Parliament’s approval of the airstrikes and the upcoming German
vote were a sign that Europeans would stand together after the attacks
that killed 130 people and left hundreds wounded in Paris.
fighter jets joined the US-led coalition against Islamic State
extremists in Iraq in 2014 and expanded their mission to IS targets in
Syria in September.
Other European officials also appealed for a
joint global response. Diplomats at an Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe conference in Belgrade said Thursday that only a
unified front could be effective in countering the threat of terrorism.
Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier described the situation as
“too dangerous, and freedom and stability too fragile, for us to counter
each other” – an apparent reference to the spat caused by last week’s
downing of the Russian plane by Turkey.
But international cohesion remained elusive as Putin again accused Turkey of profiting from oil trade with IS.
know who in Turkey are filling their pockets and allowing terrorists to
earn money by selling oil stolen from Syria,” Putin said in his state
of the union address.
“For that money the bandits are recruiting
mercenaries, buying weapons and staging cruel terror attacks aimed
against our citizens, as well as citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and
other countries,” he said.
The Russian and Turkish foreign
ministers met in Belgrade on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting – the
first senior-level meeting since the incident – but the exchange was
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he offered
his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, condolences over the death of a
Russian pilot, adding: “It would be unrealistic to say that the problem
has been overcome.”
“Our hope is that they avoid making unfounded claims,” he said.
in Syria, Russian troops moved to fortify their positions and expand a
military base, adding fortifications and developing its runways in a
sign they intend to use it as their second air base in the country,
Syrian activists said Thursday.
The work underway at the Shaayrat
air base, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the city of Homs,
could also signal Moscow’s intention to step up airstrikes in the
country’s central region where the Islamic State group is active.

Skip to toolbar
shared on