- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday the alliance is concerned about Russia’s growing military involvement in Syria’s civil war and called on leaders to find a political solution rather than escalating the bloody conflict.

Russia’s military involvement “will not contribute to solving the conflict,” Mr. Stoltenberg said, Reuters reported. “I think it is important to support all efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria.”

The NATO leader’s comments came after Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the presence of military experts in Syria. Their role is to oversee military aid, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in an official comment.

“The arms transferred to the Syrian army are designed for countering the terrorist threat,” she explained. “If need be, we will consider additional measures on increasing support for the antiterrorist efforts.”

But Russia’s assistance in Syria is troubling to the U.S., which has led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group in the region, but opposed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed national concern over the military buildup in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Mr. Kerry said Moscow’s actions would “further escalate conflict” and lead to the loss of more innocent lives in a conflict that has already killed at least 250,000 and displaced millions more.

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