Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday condemned the United States’ support for rebel groups in Syria while defending his backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s multi-sided war.
“Military aid for illegitimate structures does not conform to the principles of modern international law and the rules of the United Nations,” Putin said in an interview excerpt released by the Kremlin, to be aired Sunday by US broadcasters CBS and PBS.
Putin went on to defend his support for al-Assad, characterizing his regime as the legitimate government of Syria. Russian support came at Syria’s request, Putin said, which meant the support was legal.
Russian aid to Damascus – which according to Putin “currently includes the delivery of wepoans, training of personnel and humanitarian aid” – has been condemned by the West.
Putin added that Russia had informed the United States in advance of plans to create a centre combat the terrorist militia Islamic State. The centre he said was a basis for coordinated cooperation against the group.
Based in Baghdad, the centre brings together Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran for the exchange of information, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported Saturday.
In the interview, Putin said he had personally informed the heads of state of Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia about the new intelligence vehicle.
Putin’s comments were released ahead of his scheduled Monday address to the UN on the fight against terrorism.