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Russia supplies weapons only to Syrian government army, not to Free Syrian Army — Kremlin

December 11, 2015, 20:30 UTC+3

Earlier, Vladimir Putin said that the operation of Russia’s air group in Syria promotes consolidation of efforts of both government troops and the Free Syrian Army

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. Russia is supplying weapons to Syria’s government troops but not to the Free Syrian Army, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s statement on Russia’s support to the Syrian moderate opposition.

"No, Russia is supplying weapons to the Syrian Arab Republic, to Syria’s legitimate authorities," he said when asked whether Russia supplied arms to the so-called moderate opposition in Syria.

Earlier on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a board meeting of the Russian defense ministry that the operation of Russia’s air group in Syria "promotes consolidation of efforts of both government troops and the Free Syrian Army." "Now, a number of its units numbering more than 5,000 and the regular forces are conducting an offensive against terrorists in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqah," he said. "Apart from that, we offer them air support, as we support the Syria army helping them with weapons, munitions and materiel."

"Dialogue is maintained and contacts are conducted with certain representatives [of the moderate opposition - TASS]," Peskov noted. "Moderate forces who have been found to have no relations with terrorists can be partners in the dialogue and such dialogue is taken into account in the course of the Russian air force operation in Syria."

Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched pinpoint strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra targets in Syria on September 30 after the Federation Council upper parliament house unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for the use of the armed forces against terrorists in Syria. The Russian air group in Syria comprises more than 50 warplanes and helicopters, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-30SM fighters and Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. Air strikes are delivered at military hardware, communications centers, transport vehicles, munitions depots and other terrorist infrastructure facilities. The military operation is conducted at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia has repeatedly said it does not plan to take part in any ground operations in Syria.

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