The Levant News — The goal of Russia’s air campaign in Syria is not to protect President Bashar Assad, but to fight terrorists, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.
In an interview with the Vesti v Subbotu (Saturday News) television show Medvedev denied all accusations against Russia suggesting its operation in Syria aims to support Assad.
“No, that is absolutely not true. The Syrian people should decide who will rule the country… At the moment we consider Assad to be legitimate president,” Medvedev said.
The Russian prime minister added that what was going on in Syria now was the heaviest consequence of the past years.
“That is why, of course, we are not fighting for some specific leaders, we are protecting our national interests, on the one hand. The president [Vladimir Putin] once said that if we do not eliminate those terrorists they will come to Russia. And secondly, there is an official request from the Syrian legitimate government,” Medvedev said.
It is not important for Russia who will head the Syrian government in the future as long as it is a legitimate and civilized power, not the Islamic State jihadist group, he added.
“It does not matter who will be the head [of the Syrian government]. We don’t want the Islamic State to head the Syrian Republic, right? But it must be a civilized, legitimate power.”
Medvedev said that political issues on resolving the long-standing conflict in Syria should be discussed by all countries, including Russia and the United States, who are interested in bringing peace to the Middle East.
The US refusal to receive Russia’s delegation to discuss the Syrian issue has nothing to do with personal relations with President Barack Obama, the Russian prime minister said.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had suggested sending a Russian delegation headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Washington as well as conducting a meeting in Moscow on the Syrian civil war. Washington rejected the offer.
Medvedev added that Washington’s response was rather strange, given the serious state of the long-standing conflict in Syria.
Washington proposed to jointly fight against terrorists in Syria, but now refuses to share intelligence with Moscow, Dmitry Medvedev said.
“The Americans turned to us proposing to fight this evil [the Islamic State jihadist group] together. We said yes to them, we were ready to do this.”
The prime minister added that Russia had obtained a mandate for carrying airstrikes on ISIL extremists in Syria following Syrian President Bashar Assad’s request for assistance. However, the United States declined cooperating with Moscow and Damascus on targets collected by Russian and Syrian intelligence services.
“[Washington] tells us that either strikes are not carried out on right targets or the targets are wrong. On our legitimate question to show us the targets, which should be hit, they say ‘No, we will not show anything.’ What kind of cooperation is this?” Medvedev said.
Source: Sputnik News