Russia critical of U.S. plan to give rebels air cover in Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Monday criticized U.S. plans to provide together with Turkey air cover for Syrian rebels, saying any support for rivals of Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hampered Damascus' fight against Islamic State. Ankara and Washington are hoping that together with the Syrian rebels they would sweep Islamic State fighters from a strip of land along the Turkish border. "Moscow has stressed multiple times that helping Syrian opposition, let alone helping with financial or (military) technical means, would lead to a further desalinization of the situation in the country," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)