MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he concurred with his US counterpart Donald Trump that the terrorist group, the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) had been defeated in Syria on the whole.
"As for the victory over the Islamic State, I agree with the US president by and large," Putin told Thursday’s annual news conference. "We’ve achieved considerable changes in the struggle against terrorism in that area and dealt severe blows to the Islamic State in Syria."
"Is the presence of US troops necessary there [in Syria]? No, it is not," Putin said. "Let us not forget that the presence of US troops in Syria is not legitimate, that it has no UN Security Council resolution to hinge on. In the meantime, a military contingent can stay there only under a UN resolution or at the invitation of Syria’s legitimate government. We are in Syria at the government’s invitation."
"The United States has neither. If it is true that it has made a decision to pull out its military contingent, it is correct," Putin said.
Putin also warned that terrorists could spill over from Syria to other countries. "There is a danger that [terrorist] and groups akin to them could spill over to neighboring regions, such as Afghanistan, and also to other countries, including their origin," the Russian leader said. "That is a major threat for all of us."