Home News Russia's task is to "stabilise the legal government": Putain says

Russia's task is to "stabilise the legal government": Putain says

The Russian president continued to defend his support for Bashar al-Assad, despite the escalating disagreement raised tone from NATO, the European Union and Saudi Arabia.

Vladimir Putin has said Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian conflict is to stabilize the Syrian government and help create conditions for a political settlement.

The Russian president ruled out deploying Russian ground troops in Syria, but said air strikes in the country would continue until a “political solution” can be found to the conflict.
The comments came ahead of a meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, on Sunday evening.
Saudi Arabia, which has backed anti-regime forces in Syria, has expressed increasing concern at Russia’s air campaign in support of president Bashar al-Assad and a burgeoning alliance between Russia and Iran.
Russia said its bombing campaign targets Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), but critics have said most of its air strikes so far have targeted other armed groups fighting Assad’s government.
The intervention has put Moscow on a collision course with regional powers including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who insist Assad must resign as part of any political settlement.
The two men were joined by Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, for a closed meeting at Mr Putin’s residence in Sochi.
Mr Lavrov said after the meeting that both sides had agreed to seek a “political solution.”
“The two parties confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia have similar objectives when it comes to Syria. Above all, it is to not let a terrorist caliphate take over the country,” Mr Lavrov said after the meeting.
“After today’s talks, we understand better how to move toward a political solution,” he said.
“We expressed our concerns that these operations could be regarded as an alliance between Iran and Russia,” said Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister.
“But in the conversation, our Russian friends explained to us that the main aim is the fight with Isil and terrorism,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Putin met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.
At the meeting on the sidelines of a Formula One motor race in Russia’s Sochi resort, Mr Putin said he welcomed the opportunity to discuss security in the region, particularly in the light of bombings on Saturday that killed up to 128 people in Turkey.
Earlier Mr Putin said in an interview with Russia’s state-controlled Channel One that Russia’s air campaign would only continue until Syrian government forces had completed an offensive to retake recently lost ground.
“That’s ruled out,” Mr Putin said when asked about the possibility of deploying Russian ground troops. “We do not intend to do that and our Syrian friends know this.”
“Our task is exclusively to stabilize the legitimate government and create conditions for finding a political solution,” he added.
But he rejected the notion that Russia was joining a Shia alliance in a regional struggle with Sunni governments.
“That’s a misleading thesis,” he said. Syrian forces loyal to Assad reported successful advances under cover of Russian air strikes on Sunday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based NGO that monitors the war in Syria, said Syrian government troops and fighters from Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group, had captured Tal Skik, a mountainous area in Idlib province,
Russian air force jets flew 64 combat sorties in the 24 hours before midday on Sunday, according to the Russian ministry of defense.