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Iran Press TV

US-led air raids against Daesh bases fruitless: Russia PM

Iran Press TV

Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:36AM

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the US-led airstrikes against alleged Daesh positions in Syria and Iraq, saying the aerial campaign has failed to end the Takfiri group's terrorist activities in crisis-hit zones.

In an interview with the Russian Vesti V Subbotu weekly television program on Saturday, Medvedev said, "The result from their (US) activities" as part of the so-called anti-Daesh battle in the Middle East is "practically zero" as the extremist militant group "continues spreading."

Since last September, the US and some of its allies have been carrying out aerial assaults against what is said to be Daesh positions in Syria, without a UN mandate or coordination with Damascus. The strikes in Syria are an extension of a similar US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh bases in Iraq, which started in August 2014.

Touching on Moscow's air raids against Daesh and other terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria, Medvedev said "Russia's interference only has changed the situation" there.

Russia launched its first airstrikes against Takfiri terrorists in Syria on September 30 at the request of the Damascus government.

Backed by the Russian air power, Syrian soldiers and popular defense groups have managed to liberate several areas from Takfiri terrorists, inflicting heavy losses on them during their new series of counter-terror operations.

On October 16, Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, who heads operations in the Russian general staff, said Daesh Takfiris are now abandoning the ranks of the terror group "en masse" amid Moscow's ongoing anti-terror airstrikes in Syria.

US refusal to hold talks with Russia 'silly'

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian premier also described as "silly behavior" Washington's recent refusal to hold direct dialogue with Moscow over the ongoing crisis in Syria.

"By these decisions or by the refusal from talks, the Americans demonstrate their weakness," he added.

The remarks came three days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Washington had declined to host a Russian delegation for talks on the conflict in Syria and also refused to send its own mission to Moscow.

Meanwhile, Medvedev expressed Russia's readiness to hold talks with the US over the matter, saying, "We are open for discussing any issues."

The Russian prime minister further emphasized that only the Syrian people are entitled to decide on the future of their country.

"Now, who will be the leader of Syria is an issue to be decided by the Syrian people," he said, adding, "Our current position is that the legitimate president is [Bashar] Assad."

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have been killed in the conflict and thousands of others have been displaced.

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