WASHINGTON — The top U.S. general in the Middle East is criticizing Russia for being both “arsonist and fireman” in Syria.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told a House committee on Tuesday that Russia is at the heart of the conflict in Syria.
Votel said Moscow is “fueling tensions and then trying to resolve them in their favor.”
He said that along with Iran, Russia is trying to bolster the Syrian government under President Bashar Assad and fracture the longstanding strategic partnership between the United States and Turkey.
Votel said Moscow also is exaggerating the presence of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan and portraying it as a U.S. and NATO failure.