Syria con­flict: Putin de­fends Rus­sia’s air strikes

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has de­fended Rus­sia’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in Syria, say­ing the aim is to “sta­bilise the le­git­i­mate au­thor­ity” of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar alAs­sad.

Rus­sia wants to “cre­ate con­di­tions for a po­lit­i­cal com­pro­mise” in Syria, he told Rus­sian state TV.

On Mon­day the EU’s for­eign af­fairs chief, Fed­er­ica Mogherini, called Rus­sia’s role “a game-changer”. She said: “It has some very wor­ry­ing el­e­ments.”

The US and UK gov­ern­ments have ac­cused Rus­sia of at­tack­ing mainly “mod­er­ate” anti-As­sad groups, rather than the ji­hadists. Mr Putin de­nied that that was the case. “The in­ter­ven­tions against Daesh (IS) have to be clearly against Daesh and other ter­ror­ist groups, as de­fined by the UN,” Ms Mogherini stressed.

Syr­ian forces are said to have made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances against rebels.

Gov­ern­ment gains in Idlib, Hama and Latakia prov­inces were on Sun­day re­ported both by the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion ac­tivists.

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