Russian warplanes began airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, adding an unpredictable new element to a multi-layered conflict that has already drawn in the United States and allies, created millions of refugees, and opened room for gains by the Islamic State.There is so much potential clusterfuckery here. Obviously, there are a lot of ramifications for international relations, particularly between the US and Russia, and that concerns me, but my primary concern at the moment is for the average people of Syria who are suffering mightily at the hands of both IS and the Assad regime, as well as being threatened by external intervention under the auspices of helping them. People who stay are in danger; people who leave are in danger.
Washington quickly criticized the airstrikes — warning it brings added risks to Syria — but said Moscow's moves would not change the U.S.-led air campaign targeting the Islamic State in Syria.
In Moscow, a statement from Russia's Defense Ministry said airstrikes were carried out "against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory," state news agencies reported.
It gave no further details, but the missions follow a Russian military build-up in Syria to support its longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier Wednesday, in a surprise vote, the Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin authorization to use military force in Syria.
...The introduction of Russian military power is certain to deepen concerns by the United States and allies over escalations in the Syrian battle fronts and bolstered strength for Assad's government, which the West and others have demanded must eventually step aside.
...Amid the fast-moving developments, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the Russian airstrikes are "not helpful," according to a senior State Department official speaking anonymously about the Russia military activity.
Kerry also told Lavrov the airstrikes run counter to Russia's stated intention to cooperate on so-called "deconfliction," or making sure that mishaps do not happen inadvertently in the air.
The official said Kerry insisted deconfliction talks must begin immediately.
And more airstrikes from additional interlopers is only going to make that insecurity and risk of harm even worse.