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Putin's Bombing of Syria's Moderates Must Stop Now, EU Says

  • EU backs direct talks with Assad regime as part of UN effort
  • Russia's military escalation risks prolonging war, bloc says
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Putin's Syria Strikes: What He's Hoping to Accomplish

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European Union governments demanded Russia stop targeting moderate groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after days of aerial bombardment and cruise-missile attacks.
Scrambling to come up with a unified response to Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the crisis, foreign ministers of the EU’s 28 nations demanded Russia bomb only Islamic State extremists and other recognized terrorists or risk extending a civil war that’s already in its fifth year.

“The recent Russian military attacks that go beyond” Islamic State and target the moderate Syrian opposition “are of deep concern and must cease immediately,” the ministers said in a statement from their meeting in Luxembourg. “This military escalation risks prolonging the conflict, undermining a political process, aggravating the humanitarian situation and increasing radicalization.”