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Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria to help preserve country’s statehood

September 30, 2015, 16:40 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. The Russian Federation Council’s decision made on Wednesday to empower the president to use armed forces in Syria relies both on national legislation and international law and is geared to preserving that country’s statehood, polled experts told TASS. The just-adopted decision implies air support for Syrian government troops in their operations against Islamic State militants and assistance from military advisers, but not involvement in the fighting on the ground.

The president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, says Vladimir Putin invariably points out that Russia will never act in violation of international law. "As far as the decision to use Russian military in Syria is concerned, it was made in response to a request from the country’s legitimate president Bashar Assad," Remizov, a member of the military-industrial commission under the Russian government, told TASS.

"Putin has sounded a message to the United States, the European Union countries and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf to the effect that by sending its Air Force planes to Syria Russia indirectly guarantees the preservation of Syrian statehood, which is under threat from the expansion of the Islamic State. It is a signal to our Western partners Damascus should stay a participant in the negotiations over Syria’s future political system," Remizov believes.

"The leaders of the United States, France and a number of countries in the Middle East have all the way demonized Bashar Assad, described him as a political corpse and pressed for his resignation. The Russian leadership’s decision to use military aircraft in Syria is changing the situation," Remizov said.

In his opinion, the measure is backed up by major supplies to the Syrian forces of MiG-29 fighters, fighter-bombers Sukhoi-24 and Sukhoi-25, transport planes Antonov-24 and Antonov-26, attack helicopters Mi-24 and transport helicopters Mi-8, let alone ground armoured vehicles and anti-tank weapons.

Asked about a likely reaction from the West to Russia’s decision, Remizov said: "I believe that the United States and the European Union will have nothing against if Moscow is involved in the struggle against the Islamic State as deeply as possible, because it is a common enemy."

Deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Andrey Klimov, who on Wednesday voted for using Russia’s military in Syria predicts that the western reaction will be mixed. "In the European Union there are many politicians who are unhappy about US activities in the Middle East, which have caused a heavy influx of migrants to the Old World countries. These politicians share Russia’s stance regarding the Syrian settlement. I will be meeting with some of them within hours. But in the West there are some other personalities, who will be critical of Moscow regardless of what we may be doing in the Middle East," Klimov told TASS.

In his opinion Russia should be thinking not about what may be said about the use of its forces outside the national territory or who may be saying such things, but about its own national interests. "The terrorist threat from the Islamic State is causing the Russian leadership’s specific concerns, and this is not an abstraction. Memories are still fresh of the turmoil and bloodshed in the Caucasus in the early 1990s, when the operations to restore constitutional order had to be held there and when the conflict was provoked by external forces," Klimov said.

"As far as I know, the US Congress has never enabled Barack Obama to deal air strikes against Syrian territory. Nor were such bombardments of Syrian territory agreed with the country’s president Bashar Assad," he remarked.

"In contrast to the US president Vladimir Putin has asked the Federation Council for approval to use Russian forces outside the national territory. In doing so he relied on Russian legislation and on international law," Klimov concluded.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors