Russia calls for world to unite to fight terrorism as Syria air strikes begin

Russia followed its launch of air strikes in Syria with a call for world leaders to unite in the fight against terrorist groups.

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was circulating a draft UN Security Council resolution to help make it happen.

The Russian draft, obtained by The Associated Press, calls on states to "co-ordinate their activities with the consent of the states in the territories of which such activities are conducted".

The language, a reference to Syria's government, is similar to that included in an earlier draft council statement that Russia pursued in recent weeks but the US refused to negotiate.

Lavrov said Russia is ready to "forge standing channels of communication to ensure a maximally effective fight".

"What we require are collective agreed approaches backed by Security Council," he said.

US secretary of state John Kerry said the USA would welcome Russia's actions if strikes were directed at the Islamic State group. Credit: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry said that the US is prepared to welcome Russia's actions in Syria if they are directed at the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as ISIL, and al Qaida.

He promised that the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria would "dramatically accelerate our efforts".

Kerry said the US is prepared to hold what he described as "de-confliction" talks with Russia over the two airstrike campaigns as early as possible.

"We will ensure through precision airstrikes that ISIL do not have any sanctuary, anywhere, on the ground in Syria," he told the council.

Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday and claimed they were targeting the so-called Islamic State.

But NATO has expressed concern about the targets and it has been claimed more than 30 civilians have been killed after rebel areas were hit.

Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, accused the Russian air strikes of targeting areas where IS fighters were not present and leaving "many innocent victims".

Russia backs Bashar al-Assad's regime in its fight against IS and other rebel groups.

Russia was strongly endorsed by Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem who called French and other air strikes in Syria that are not co-ordinated with his government a "blatant contravention" of international law.

Foreign minister Javad Zarif of Iran, Syria's closest ally, said the US-led coalition was "failing to achieve its goals".

The foreign minister of France, which began its own airstrikes in Syria a few days ago, told the council that his country is ready to co-operate with Russia and others in the fight against IS in Syria.

But Laurent Fabius listed three conditions that include an end to violence against Syria's civilians, "absolute clarity" about who the countries are fighting and the exit of President Assad.

Fabius said the collective way forward must include a "broad-based negotiation toward a political transition that doesn't lead to maintaining in power Syria's hangman".