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Russia indirectly involved in Syrian conflict by supporting Assad — Hollande

October 02, 2015, 21:52 UTC+3

Moscow has always supported Assad and his regime and Vladimir Putin has not changed his political course, French President Francois Hollande says

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PARIS, October 2. /TASS/. Russia is indirectly involved in the Syria conflict by supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday after a Normandy Four summit in Paris.

"Russia has been indirectly involved in the conflict. It has always supported Assad and his regime. [Russian President] Vladimir Putin has not changed his political course," he said.

Touching on Russia’s air operation in Syria, he said he had reminded the Russian leader that air strikes were to be targeted exclusively at the terrorist group Islamic States. "Each of us should behave in a responsible way," Hollande added. He refrained from coupling together the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s operation in Syria.

On September 30, Russia’s aerospace forces launched an air operation against militants of the Islamic State, an extremist organization outlawed in Russia.

France and Russia agree on the importance of efforts to keep up Syria's territorial integrity, the French President added.

He said the Syrian problem had been discussed in the course of his conversation with Vladimir Putin.

Hollande said France and Russia maintained similar positions on the issue.

Air strikes in Syria should be directed solely against Islamic State

Air strikes in Syria should be directed exclusively against Islamic State (IS), French President Francois Hollande said on Friday following meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris and the talks in the "Normandy format" (France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine).

"France, in the name of the legitimate self-defense, considering Islamic State to be an immediate threat, since they are preparing terrorist attacks in France and Europe, also decided to carry out air strikes. However, I recalled during the meeting with Vladimir Putin that these strikes had to be directed against Islamic State, exclusively against Islamic State," Hollande said.

He noted that France did not set itself other goals. "Proceeding from this, everyone should bear responsibility," the French president said. "We must focus our efforts on this terrorist group operating in two countries — Syria and Iraq."

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