WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Russia is considering taking steps toward strengthening its role in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants in Syria if conditions worsen, despite criticism from the United States.
The Obama administration has previously criticized Russia for reportedly deploying military personnel and aircraft in Syria saying its involvement could escalate the four-year conflict, as reported by Bloomberg Business.
“If additional measures to step up the anti-terrorist fight are required, Russia is ready to consider them, but only in strict compliance with international and Russian law,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesdsay. “The situation now doesn’t require it.”
Zakharova also said that reports of more military in Syria are meant to instill a sense of “hysteria.”
“Russia has never made a secret out of its military cooperation with Syria,” Zakharova said, according to Bloomberg. “Russian specialists are helping Syrians to use Russian equipment. It’s difficult to understand the anti-Russian hysteria in this regard.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday discussing the issues in Syria. Lavrov emphasized the necessity of a consolidated response against terrorist groups, according to the Foreign Ministry’s website. Russia has already called for a coalition in the fight against ISIS, a concept the U.S. and its allies do not support.
Officials say it is unlikely Russia will become directly involved with the conflict, despite its accelerated weapons delivery to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.