Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed at stabilizing President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russian President Vladimir Putin told state TV on Sunday. He also allayed speculations that Russia has plans to conduct ground operations.
In an interview with state-run Russia 24 TV, Putin strongly defended Russia’s military intervention in Syria as reasonable and said that Russia will continue the airstrikes against its main target ISIS and other forces that are fighting the Syrian government. Russia began its air assaults against the Islamic group fighters on Sept 30.
“Our task is to stabilize the legitimate government and to create conditions for a political compromise,” Putin said in the interview with Russia 24.
“By military means, of course. The units of international terrorists and their ilk have no desire to negotiate with the Syrian government, who is almost sieged in its own capital,” he added.
However, Putin denied the possibility of a Russian ground attack in Syria. He said that Russia informed and warned all countries involved in the region about its intervention in support of the Syrian government.
Russia which is supporting the al-Assad government has launched more than 100 air and cruise missile strikes targetting ISIS bases, training camps, logistic centers and ammunition depots. Russian missiles had also hit the U.S-supported Syrian rebel camps triggering possibility of a standoff between Moscow and Washington.
Putin said that Russia’s intervention in Syria was legal compared to the U.S involvement, as it was in response to a request from Syria’s legitimately elected government. He said that the Washington’s now discontinued support to rebelling Syrian groups was not reasonable and requested the U.S to join the Russian effort to bring peace in the war-torn country.
The president also claimed that Russia’s campaign at Syria is more powerful than that of the U.S and allies.
“We asked them to work together. The simplest thing would be for them to join us and thereby legitimize their actions on Syrian territory,” Putin said, adding that he hopes are on arriving at a consensus with the U.S and other forces who are fighting against the ISIS.
Putin has also intensified diplomatic talks to bring a political resolution to the Syrian crisis. He held discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Mohammed Bin Salman on Sunday and had met Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed and Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan seeking garner diplomatic support for the cause.