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Saudi Arabia demands end of Russia strikes on Syria

Saudi Arabia has demanded that Russia end its bombing campaign in Syria "immediately", saying Islamic State is not present in areas targeted.

A video purporting to show the aftermath of a Russian air strike in Syria.

Speaking at the UN in New York, Saudi diplomat Abdallah Al-Mouallimi claimed "a number of innocent victims" had been killed.

The delegation of my country expresses its profound concern regarding the military operations which Russian forces have carried out in Homs and Hama - places where ISIS forces are not present.

These attacks led to a number of innocent victims.

We demand it stop immediately and not recur.

– Abdallah Al-Mouallimi



US warns over claim Russia 'building Syrian military base'

John Kerry (left) spoke to Sergei Lavrov (right) by telephone. Credit: Parspix/ABACA

The United States has expressed concern over reports that Russia has been increasing its military presence in Syria, the State Department says.

In a phone call to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State John Kerry said media claims that Russia appears to be building a military base in the country would "further escalate" the Syrian civil war if true.

The New York Times quoted unnamed US officials as saying that Russia had dispatched a military advance team to Syria and had sent temporary housing units to the port city of Latakia that suggested up to 1,000 advisers or other military personnel could be housed there.

The report claimed that while there was no indication of an intention to deploy significant Russia ground forces, the base could be used to transport military supplies or as a launching pad for air strikes supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia has been one of Assad's only allies on the international scene, backing the leader throughout the country's four-year war.

The US, like Britain, favours a political transition to see him removed from power.

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