MADRID — Defense Secretary Ash Carter criticized on Monday morning the Russian military operation in Syria during his first speech in his tour in Europe: "By taking military action in Syria against moderate groups targets, Russia has escalated the civil war."

At the Spanish military institution Ceseden (Spanish Center for National Defense Studies), Carter said "Russia puts gasoline in the fire of Syrian civil war."

Besides, the leader of the Pentagon emphasized the US position against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, that was defined as "a sinking ship": "The Assad regime cannot last," Carter said showing the U.S. support for a political transition in Syria.

"Russia has an opportunity to be in the correct side of history," the secretary of defense stressed to condemn again, in a later press conference with the Spanish Minister Pedro Morenés, the Russian airstrikes against other rebel groups different from terrorist of the Islamic State group.

Carter began his speech with the aftermaths of the attack in Kunduz, north of Afghanistan. He promised "a complete and transparent investigation."

Tomorrow, the Secretary of Defense will visit the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force for Crisis Response based in Morón de la Frontera (Seville). After this visit, Carter will go to Italy before taking part in the Nato Defense ministers summit on Wednesday and Thursday.