General Philip Breedlove (Ret.), former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, “I still believe that, in Syria, Russia has a hierarchy of what they’re trying to do and getting after ISIL is the last of that hierarchy.”
Breedlove listed out Russia’s priorities in Syria: “It’s propping up the murderous regime of Assad. It’s retaining access to naval and air bases in Syria. It is raising the statute of Russia as a great power out there in the world. It is, then, getting after the moderate opposition, which in some cases we support. And then I would say, last of the five, Russia is after ISIL.”
Breedlove said that he did not see any compatibility between U.S. and Russian interests: “I don’t see their priorities the same as ours in any way, shape, or form in Syria.”
“To align ourselves with Iran and Russia in Syria would be very problematic to me,” Breedlove warned.
Breedlove’s testimony cast doubts on the new administration’s hopes to join with Russia in combatting Islamic extremism that had festered around the Syrian civil war.
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