Russian President Vladimir Putin said the mission of the Russian forces in Syria is ‘very important’ to eradicate terrorism in it.
With Russia’s backing, the Syrian state has managed to liberate the majority of areas previously held by terrorist organizations, he said during his annual televised call-in show.
The action plan ahead, he pointed out, is to focus work on a political settlement to the crisis in Syria.
Fighting terrorism in Syria will shield the Russian citizens and the interests of the Russian Federation from a threat posed by terrorists who assembled in Syria in big numbers, some of whom hail from Russia and central Asian countries, the Russian President said. The wide-scale military operations of the Russian forces have now stopped, he added.
“Dealing with terrorists in Syria had been a better option than waiting for them to come to Russia to confront them,” he added, indicating that “Syria is not a field for testing Russia’s weapons, but the Russian weapons were used there to eliminate terrorists.”
Asked how long the Russian troops are planned to stay in Syria, Putin said that Russia has no intention of bringing them back currently since their presence is necessary because they are performing a “highly important mission to ensure Russia’s security and interests.”
They “will stay there for as long as it is to Russia’s advantage, and to fulfill our international responsibilities,” said Putin.
“We are not building long-term installations there and if necessary can withdraw our servicemen quite quickly without any material losses,” said Putin.