Russia's upper house of parliament approves military presence in Syria
Iran Press TV
Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:7AM
Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has voted unanimously to give President Vladimir Putin the right to use Russian armed forces in Syria.
The Federation Council discussed Putin's request for the approval of Russia's military presence behind the closed doors on Wednesday.
In televised remarks after the vote, Sergei Ivanov, the head of Kremlin administration, said that the move did not mean that Russian ground forces would be engaged in the conflict, adding that it only concerned the use of the air force.
He also said that Russia's military presence in Syria comes upon a request by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who 'has appealed to the leadership of our country with a request for military aid.'
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Putin had sent a request to Russia's upper chamber of parliament to ask lawmakers to authorize using the Russian army abroad.
According to Russian constitution, the president has to request a parliamentary approval for any use of Russian troops abroad.
This comes as Putin reportedly hosted a meeting of the Russian security council at his residence outside of Moscow on Tuesday night to discuss terrorism and extremism.
The US and its allies have been accusing Russia of a covert military buildup in Syria. Moscow has denied the allegation, saying it will only send troops to Syria if Damascus makes such a request.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared up in March 2011, has reportedly claimed about 250,000 lives up until now, according to reports.
The United Nations says the militancy, which has escalated due to operations by Takfiri terrorist groups such as Daesh, has also displaced more than 7.2 million Syrians internally, and compelled over four million others to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon.
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