Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said from Moscow, Tuesday, that Russia was not against combatting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in an international coalition with the United States but Moscow would not join an "illegal" international coalition. Zakharova said that the US-led coalition against IS rebels in Syria does "not correspond with international law" as it does not have the consent of Damascus, adding that "we will not participate in that which is illegal." Zakharova stated that "we refuse only one thing: being engaged in illegal activities. We had the same point of view ten years ago during the Iraq campaign and we were right, it turned out we were right." The Foreign Ministry spokesperson also contrasted the US-led campaigns in Iraq to the campaign in Syria. "How the coalition acts on the territory of Iraq is absolutely legal because it is there with the consent of Baghdad," she said. Russia announced that it conducted its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, successfully hitting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets. On Thursday, more attacks hit militant targets in Maarrat al-Nu'man and al-Latamna. Prior to the strikes Russia's Federation Council gave its consent for the use of the Russian armed forces abroad at a closed-doors meeting. The consent does not include the use of ground forces. The move followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's UN General Assembly speech in which he called for an alliance against IS forces. Mission objectives are selected by coordination between the Syrian and Russian governments as well as aerial reconnaissance.
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