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SOCHI, September 18. /TASS/. Russia will consider Syria’s request to send troops if Damascus asks for it, but it is hard to talk about hypothetically, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.
Answering a question on whether Russia would agree to send troops to participate in military operations together with the Syrian army, Peskov said: "If there is a request, than in the framework of bilateral contacts, in the framework of bilateral dialogue, it will, of course, be discussed and considered. For now, it is rather difficult to speak hypothetically."
Syrian Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday said Syria would ask Russia to send its troops to fight on the side of the Syrian army if such a need arose. According to him, Syria will not hesitate to ask for support from Russia.
From the very beginning of the conflict Russia has been timely providing assistance to Syria, the minister said. Muallem admitted that Russia’s firm stance has had an increasing influence on the Western countries’ approaches to the Syrian crisis.
According to Peskov, Russia’s presidential council for civil society and human rights has received no appeals from Russia’s troops who do not want to go to Syria.
"At least, the council for human rights has not reported about this," Peskov told reporters, commenting on the report of the Gazeta.ru news portal.
He said the appeals, if any, will be considered for sure. "But I have not heard of any statements on this issue," the presidential spokesman added.
According to the report, Russia’s contract soldiers have sent an inquiry to the council, a body set up to assist the president in the protection of rights and freedoms.
The council has in its turn asked the Defence Ministry to look into the reports.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Thursday "there is no joint fighting on the ground with Russian troops, but if we felt such a need, we would study it and demand."
"So far the Syrian army is able (on its own) and what we need frankly is more of the ammunition and qualitative weapons to face the type of qualitative weapons of these terrorist groups," he added.