Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his call for uniting efforts to fight terrorism which poses a threat to many states and millions of people around the world.
In an interview given to CBS, Putin said “Today, terrorism threatens a great number of states, a great number of people – hundreds of thousands, millions of people suffer from its criminal activity. And we all face the task of joining our efforts in the fight against this common evil,” adding that in this regard, Russia has proposed cooperation to the countries in the region and is trying to establish some kind of coordination framework for it.
Regarding the Russian military presence in Syria, Putin said that Russia’s activities have been limited to supplying weapons to the Syrian government, training personnel and providing humanitarian aid for the Syrian people.
“We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to the legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council,” the Russian President said.
He also asserted that the only regular and legitimate army in Syria is the Syrian Army led by President Bashar al-Assad and that this army is confronting terrorist organizations, not opposition as some of Russia’s international partners interpret the situation.
Regarding the U.S. attempts to “train the combat part of the opposition forces,” Putin noted that according to U.S. Senate hearings, the United States’ goal was to train up to 12,000 fighters, but only 60 of those fighters managed to complete the training and only four or five actually fought, while others fled to join ISIS, taking their American weapons with them.
Putin also criticized the arming and training of so-called “moderate opposition” by the West and the United States, saying that “provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” adding that Russia supports only legitimate government entities.