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Syrian diplomat: Airstrikes against IS positions in Syria not effective

September 21, 2015, 9:22 UTC+3 TOKYO
Syria is using new weapons provided by Moscow and will not hesitate in requesting the deployment of Russian troops depending on future developments in the conflict, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister says
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© AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

TOKYO, September 21. /TASS/. The airstrikes carried out by the US-led coalition against the positions of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria have not produced any result, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has told Kyodo News in an interview.

The airstrikes "were not effective and they in fact achieved nothing," Mekdad said on Sunday. The IS terrorist group "has become stronger in both Iraq and Syria under the American war against terrorism."

The diplomat also stressed that increased cooperation with the Syrian government is indispensable in the campaign against the IS.

Syria is using new weapons provided by Moscow and will not hesitate in requesting the deployment of Russian troops depending on future developments in the conflict, he said.

"Russia is helping Syria and this is the main source of armament of our army," Mekdad said. "Russian military support does help our capacity," which will "definitely help the Syrian army advance in the struggle against terrorists," he said.

Mekdad also added that Russian troops are not yet deployed in Syria.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said last week that Damascus would ask Russia to send its troops to fight on the side of the Syrian army if such a need arose.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Russia would consider Syria’s request to send troops if Damascus asked for it, but it was hard to talk about hypothetically.

The armed conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has reportedly claimed more than 200,000 lives up until now. The violence has also forced 4 million Syrians to take refuge in neighbouring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. More than 7.6 million others have been displaced within Syria, according to the United Nations.

The Western countries back certain groups of the armed opposition which is also fighting against the Syrian government.

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