LONDON - As British jets opened airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Germany prepared to send troops and aircraft to the region, Russia's president called on the world Thursday to brandish "one powerful fist" in the fight against terrorism.
Yet even as international efforts to defeat the extremists grew, animosity between Russia and Turkey only intensified.
Hours after Britain's Parliament authorized military action in Syria, its Tornado warplanes struck oil fields in eastern Syria that help finance IS. "This strikes a very real blow at the oil and the revenue on which the Daesh terrorists depend," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Both the U.S.-led coalition and Russian warplanes have struck the extremists' oil facilities and Russia has drawn heated international attention to the issue by accusing Turkish authorities of profiting from oil trade with IS - allegations Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly denied.
The Russian allegations came after last week's downing by Turkey of a Russian warplane near the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey insists the plane had violated its airspace, but Russia vehemently rejects that contention.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his state-of-the-nation address, accused Turkey of "a treacherous war crime" and bitingly suggested "Allah must have punished Turkey's ruling clique by depriving it of sense and reason."
Putin also accused Washington and its allies of turning Iraq, Syria, and Libya into a "zone of chaos and anarchy threatening the entire world" by supporting change of regimes in those countries.
"We must leave all arguments and disagreements behind and make one powerful fist, a single antiterror front, which would work on the basis of international law under the aegis of the United Nations," Putin said.
Germany on Thursday prepared to send reconnaissance aircraft to the Middle East as coalition forces stepped up efforts to fight the militants. In all, up to 1,200 German soldiers would be deployed to support the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group. Two Tornados and a tanker could be sent to Turkey's Incirlik air base next week if the German Parliament approves the mission Friday as expected.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the mission would have three components: to protect French naval operations, to provide intelligence though reconnaissance aircraft and satellite observation, and to offer logistical support like in-air refueling for allied planes.