Michael Fallon
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warns of ISIS barbarism in what is a "very direct threat" ITN

The UK should join airstrikes against Isis (Islamic State) strongholds in Syria in the near future and that Russia should not divert the focus from a mission against the "very direct threat" of terrorist "barbarism" according to Michael Fallon. The defence secretary said that Britain should not be challenged by Russian activity in the region but "fight harder" when RAF fighters finally enter the region.

However, Fallon accepted that the government did not have Parliamentary authority to do so, despite Isis "killing Christians, killing gays, and carrying out unspeakable acts of brutality".

Talking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Fallon said: "The logic is inescapable. [ISIS], which is a huge threat to this country, to the stability of Iraq and to the stability of the whole region has carried out barbarous acts. [ISIS] is run from north-east Syria where [President] Assad has not been in control for a couple of years.

"Its command and control is there, its logistics, its supply routes into Iraq. The other members of the coalition have been striking at those targets, they'd like us to take part but we don't yet have Parliamentary authority to do so."

He said that the Russian bombing raids over Syria had been mainly aimed at those who oppose the current government and that the actions were "propping up the Assad regime" and "prolonging the conflict". Russia has insisted that its bombing campaign which started at the beginning of the month is targeting ISIS fighters. Fallon stated this was false as "more than 80%" of its bombing raids were confined to the south of Syria where Islamic State is less prevalent.

Fallon said that the Russian action had led to hundreds of casualties and deaths and in comparison the RAF had been conducting airstrikes in Iraq for "a year" and "so far there have been no civilian casualties". He called on the Russians to work with the UK, Germany, the United States and France to put a new government in place in Syria that is properly representative "in which Assad will play no part".