No Plan for Russian ground operation in Syria right now: Putin
Iran Press TV
Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:49PM
Russia's President Vladimir Putin says Moscow does not plan ground operations in Syria right now, but will intensify its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other states. Well, at least we don't plan on it right now," Putin said in a Sunday interview with CBS news on the eve of a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
The Russian leader, however, stressed that Moscow will boost its support for Damascus in the fight against terrorist groups.
"But we are considering intensifying our work with both President Assad and with our partners in other countries," he warned, adding that Assad deserves international support because he is fighting terrorist groups.
He blasted those accusing Assad of using barrel bombs to indiscriminately kill civilians, saying the allegations are a ploy by Assad's enemies to mar his image.
"It is anti-Syrian propaganda," Putin declared, adding, "Speaking in a professional language of intelligence services I can tell you that this kind of assessment is an 'active measure' by enemies of Assad."
Putin also termed the United States' backing for militants in Syria as illegal and ineffective, adding that many of the US-trained militants are joining the terrorists of the Daesh Takfiri group with weapons supplied by Washington.
Reports emerged three days ago showing that dozens of Syrian militants, who were reportedly trained by the United States, gave some of their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage. Officials in the US military confirmed the report on Friday.
He said that a reason for Russia's potential intervention in Syria would be to prevent the return of an estimated 2,000 volunteers from Russia and the former Soviet states who are currently fighting within the ranks of militant groups in Syria.
Over the past weeks, the US and its allies have been accusing Moscow of a covert military buildup in Syria. Moscow has denied the charges, saying it will send troops if Damascus makes such a request.
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