Turkey accuses Russia of ethnic cleansing in Syria

10 December 2015 (Last Updated December 10th, 2015 06:48)

Turkey has accused Russia of resorting to ethnic cleansing by targeting certain groups in its air strikes on Syria.

Turkey has accused Russia of resorting to ethnic cleansing by targeting certain groups in its air strikes on Syria.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Russia is targeting Turkmen and Sunni communities around the Latakia region.

"Russia is trying to make ethnic cleansing in the northern Latakia to force all Turkmen and Sunni populations who do not have good relations with the regime," Davutoglu was quoted by the BBC as saying.

"The Russian air campaign has different objectives quite frankly."

He alleged that the Russian strikes were actually helping ISIS.

Relations between Turkey and Russia worsened after the former shot down the latter's warplane last month, alleging that it had strayed into its airspace despite several warnings.

US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition Brett H. McGurk said that only 30% of Russian air strikes are targeting ISIS while the rest are aimed at other armed groups.

"Our air campaign in Syria, we think it's very effective and we have the data to back that up.

"The Russian air campaign has different objectives quite frankly." Reuters quoted McGurk as saying.

Russia is accused of helping Syria President Bashar al-Assad, while the US-led coalition wants a neutral administration in the Middle Eastern country.

McGurk said that the US is working to close the last strip of border between Turkey and Syria to avoid any infiltrations by foreign militants.

The coalition forces are continuing with strikes on ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Three strikes were carried out in Syria and 22 in Iraq on Wednesday.