An increase in Russian airstrikes is helping Islamic State, the US-led coalition is warning.
Russia has increased its use of airpower over Syria since efforts to bring about a ceasefire in the country.
Although Moscow insists it is using its air force to destroy all “terrorist groups”, it has in fact struck moderate groups far more times than Islamic State.
Western governments are accusing Russia of increasing its airstrikes to assist Syrian regime ground forces ahead of any possible truce and negotiations.
Colonel Steve Warren, military spokesman for the Global Coalition against Islamic State, told Sky News that Russia is helping the people it claims to be destroying.
He said: “They”re using this Russian aggression, Russian airstrikes against opposition forces as their opportunity to begin manoeuvring.
“Some of the strikes that the Russians have conducted have benefited ISIL. There”s just no question about that.”
The US-led coalition insists its own airstrikes are continuing to inflict punishing damage on IS, forcing the terror group to shrink the territory it controls by 40%.
In the absence of Western boots on the ground, it is continuing to rely on Iraqi armed forces and Syrian revolutionary groups with mixed results.
There is still no sign of an imminent attack on IS” Syrian stronghold of Raqqa or the biggest city it holds in Iraq, Mosul.
However, the coalition says it is tightening the noose around IS – restricting its supply of recruits and weapons and destroying its means of raising revenue.
But as the terror group is backed into a corner, it is feared it could become more dangerous – lashing out with more attacks on targets outside the Middle East, repeating devastating attacks like the ones in Paris that killed 130 in November.
Colonel Warren added: “As we continue to inflict damage on this enemy they are going to want to do something to prove that they are not licked.
“And some of that maybe some of these noticeable high visibility attacks throughout area outside their self-declared caliphate.”