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Iran Press TV

Russia military cooperation with Syria no secret: Foreign Ministry

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 9, 2015 1:33PM

Russia says it has never kept its military cooperation with Syria a secret, saying Moscow has openly sent "military specialists" to the Arab state, which is engaged in heavy battles with foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists.

"I can confirm and reiterate that there are Russian military specialists in Syria who help to use arriving equipment," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

She pointed to previously signed agreements between Moscow and Damascus on defense ties, saying, "We never made a secret out of our military-technical cooperation with Syria. We have long supplied arms and military equipment to Syria. We are doing it in compliance with existing contracts and in full compliance with international law."

Zakharova added that Moscow is providing military equipment to Damascus to help the Arab nation in its fight against "the terrorist threat, which has reached an unprecedented scale" both in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

The Russian official went on to say that Moscow might consider extra counter-terrorism aid to Syria if needed.

"I can reiterate that if additional measures in the interests of boosting anti-terrorism efforts are required, then, undoubtedly, these issues will be additionally considered, but exclusively on the basis of international law of Russian legislature," she said.

In similar comments on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the country's military experts are present in Syria to train Syrian soldiers on how to use the military technologies offered to Damascus under joint contracts in the domain of bilateral military cooperation.

Zakharov also lashed out at the Western states for creating "strange hysteria" over her country's activities in Syria.

The statements come as the US has expressed concern over reports of Russia's increased involvement in Syria, with American media saying Russia has sent a military team to Syria.

Moscow and Washington have had major differences over the crisis in Syria. The Kremlin lends support to Damascus in its fight against Takfiri terrorists groups, whereas the White House wants to see President Bashar al-Assad toppled.

The US, along with its Western and regional allies, has been supporting the Takfiri groups operating against the Damascus government since March 2011.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria has reportedly claimed more than 240,000 lives up until now.

The violence has also forced over four million Syrians to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. More than 7.2 million others have been displaced within Syria, according to the United Nations.

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