Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters on Wednesday there has been an increase in Russian air activity this week, particularly in Aleppo, Syria. Russian forces are supporting Bashar al Assad’s forces, which have had “mixed success” in recent efforts to gain ground. “It’s a tough fight in Aleppo and in other areas where the Russians are operating … it really belies the point that … the Russian decision to double down on their support of the Assad regime is … strategically short-sighted,” he said. “We’ve seen … reckless use of munitions, primarily dumb bombs, dropped without precision. And, you know, this is concerning to us … We’ve long called on the Russians to do what they originally said that they would do, which is fight ISIL. We have not seen that.” (Warren transcript.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.