MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – The "moderate opposition" that US President Barack Obama said Washington would train and equip to address the Islamic State (IS) militant threat in Iraq and Syria does not exist, Maj. Gen. Yahya Suleiman told Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency on Tuesday.
"We are accustomed to the fact that the United States is often hypocritical. The biggest hypocrisy was displayed by the American side, when the US president announced that there is a "moderate opposition" in Syria. However, this was nothing more than a figment of his [Barack Obama's] own imagination," Maj. Gen. Suleiman said.
"At the same time, such a statement had special meaning and was made in order to satisfy the US allies that got involved in a conspiracy against Syria - especially the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia. That is why the United States, feeding them with promises, agreed that they prepare 5,000 fighters," Maj. Gen. Suleiman added.
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that the United States has carried out airstrikes against IS targets in Syria with the aid of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The airstrikes targeted around 20 IS facilities, including training sites and arms depots.
On September 10, Obama announced plans to defeat the IS, which include forming an international anti-IS coalition. The US president said Washington would be extending its airstrikes against IS positions from Iraq to Syria and would provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces, as well as Syria's "moderate opposition" in order to respond to the terrorist threat.
Gulf Cooperation Council members, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, together with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, agreed to join the US-led coalition earlier in the month.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in western and northern Iraq and seized vast areas in both countries, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.