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Latest update : 2015-10-22

David Petraeus: Syria is a 'geopolitical Chernobyl'

The former commander of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and former director of the CIA, retired general David Petraeus, granted an exclusive interview to FRANCE 24.

Petraeus warned that Russia’s military involvement in Syria would further complicate the situation there, which he compared to a "geopolitical Chernobyl" with very little hope for a political solution.

The former top US general explained that Russia's intervention on the side of the regime, combined with that of Iran and Shia militias, had caused a "reversal of momentum on the battlefield", with the regime making up lost ground. He accused Russia of targeting the moderate Syrian opposition, saying that "90 percent" of Russian air strikes targeted such groups, including those supported by the US.

On Iraq, the former US commander said that the Iraqi army was making progress against the Islamic State group, but warned that the real key to solving the crisis was to make Iraqi politics more inclusive by bringing in the Sunnis.

Finally, Petraeus welcomed as "the right decision" the announcement by President Obama that the US would maintain 5,500 troops in Afghanistan through the rest of his mandate, stressing that it "remains a very important mission" aimed at preventing terrorist groups from regaining a base.

By Marc PERELMAN

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