- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The top U.S. commander in Europe testified on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir’s forces are deliberately bombing civilians in Syria to uproot them from their homes and turn them into weapons against Europe.

Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian warplanes continue to strike targets despite the cease fire engineered last week by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Gen. Breedlove excoriated Syrian President Bashar Assad for dropping “barrel bomb” terrorist weapons whose only purpose is to kill and scatter civilians.

He called the campaign the “weaponization of immigration.”

“I cannot find any reason for the way Bashar al Assad has prosecuted much of the campaign againts his own people,” he said. “There is no understandable method by which you deliver a barrel bomb that reaches military utility. Barrel bombs are designed to terrorize, get people out of their homes and get them on the road and make them some one else’s problem.”

“These indiscriminate weapons used by both Bashar al Assad and the non-precision use of weapons by the Russian forces––I can’t find any other reason for them other than to cause refugees to be on the move and make them some one else’s problem.”

The Washington Times reported last week that Russia is primarily dropping “dumb” gravity bombs and has destroyed clinics, homes, refugee centers and schools.

Mr. Putin has established a permanent air base northwest of Damascus from where Sukhoi-class fighters to striking targets with the aim of keeping Mr. Assad in power.

Gen. Breedlove that Russia’s aggressive moves in Syria and eastern Europe make Moscow an “existential threat” to the United States.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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