In a contrasting statement made last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russian troops have been stationed in Syria for years. Their mission there is to train Syrian military personnel in using latest military equipment supplied by Russia.
The Minister went on to say that Moscow might agree to provide military assistance to the Syrian authorities if it gets a request to this effect.
“Currently no joint military operations involving Russian troops are being conducted. If we feel there is a need for Russia’s involvement, we will look into the situation and seek Russian help,” said Valid Muallem.
“The Syrian Army is quite battle-worthy, but it needs ammunition and modern weapons,” stressed the Syrian Foreign Minister.
“We should be able to repel the rebels’ attacks using the same kinds of weapons they use”.
Muallem also said that his country’s relations with Russia can be referred to as strategic. He insisted that the support Moscow has been providing to his country has been limited to supplying military hardware and providing training to Syrian military personnel.
According to a Damask-based military source, the government troops have started using latest types of weapons they have been getting from Russia lately. The US has also reported spotting Russian helicopter gunships on Syrian airfields.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country has been providing Bashar Asad’s troops with weapons to counter the terrorist threat, preserve Syria’s statehood and avert a potential disaster in the region.
However, the US state officials are distrustful of the Russian side’s claims and believe its ultimate goal lies in keeping the ruling regime in place.
The West has long been pushing for the Asad regime downfall, accusing it of unleashing a civil war that has claimed lives of more than 250 thousand people and caused a refugee crisis in Europe. In his turn, the Syrian President lays the blame for what has happened on the West, with Vladimir Putin taking his side.
According to the Kremlin’s reports, the Russian President is going to raise the subject of international terrorism and Syrian conflict in the context of international security at a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28.