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Only aviation support will be provided to regular Syrian army — Russian lawmaker

September 30, 2015, 14:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier today, the Federation Council has unanimously granted permission to the Russian president to use the nation’s military force in Syria
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© TASS/Valeriy Sharifulin

MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. Russia will only provide aviation support to the regular Syrian army, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Wednesday commenting on the decision to grant permission to the president to use Russian Armed Forces abroad.

"I will stress it — we are talking only about providing aviation support to the actions of the regular Syrian army. We are not talking about participating in the ground operation," she added. Matviyenko explained that the Syrian army can be effective "only if it has air support."

The speaker said that the Federation Council received a request of "legitimate Syrian authorities" in full compliance with international law.

Matviyenko is confident Russia’s actions in Syria will be supported by the international community as necessary.

"I think that the absolute majority in the international community will support Russia’s actions as timely and necessary," Matviyenko told journalists.

The speaker noted that other opinions can be voiced around the world but the Russian side "treats this calmly as it knows it is right." "In this situation, we could not refuse Syrian President Bashar Assad and continue watching how people die, how women and children die, how historical and cultural sites are being destroyed," Matviyenko stressed. "I think that the time has come when we cannot not act, when we cannot stay away from these global processes," she concluded.

Russian Defense Ministry opens channels for coordination with west coalition in Syria

According to Matviyenko, the Russian Defense Ministry has already opened channels for coordination with the western coalition in Syria.

"Channels for communication between the Defense Ministry and many partners were opened today," Matviyenko said.

"Of course, I am convinced that we will find ways to prevent collisions and to boost coordination in this work [the fight against the Islamic State]," she added.

Matviyenko confirmed that Russia will not take part in land operations in Syria.

Reforms in Syria necessary but only after Islamic State is defeated

Western partners have started to understand that immediate resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad is impossible because he can be replaced by terrorists, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko went on to say.

Reforms in Syria are necessary but only after the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization is defeated, Matviyenko said. "I think that certain shifts emerged in the US’ position. There are no more categorical demands of Assad’s immediate resignation because they understand it will result in chaos and tumult. Russia supports reforms and changes in Syria but they should happen in parallel, while the main priority task now is to defeat terrorism, defeat IS. Reforms should be carried out in parallel with that, and later elections, in other conditions, when the Syrian people will decide themselves who should lead the country," she stressed.

Earlier today, the Federation Council has unanimously granted permission to the Russian president to use the nation’s military force in Syria, Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov told journalists. "The Federation Council unanimously supported the president’s request — 162 votes in favor [of granting permission]," Ivanov said. Russia will use only its Air Force in Syria against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group upon the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Ivanov said, stressing that no ground troops will be sent.

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