Kremlin says it aims to 'liberate' Syria

2016-10-22 22:05
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - The Kremlin on Saturday said its military intervention in Syria aimed to liberate the war-torn nation's territory from jihadists while keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov in an interview with Rossiya-1 national television set to air on Saturday evening said there were only two possible outcomes for the Syrian conflict - either Assad remains in power or jihadists take over.

"Either Assad is in Damascus, or Al-Nusra is," he said, referring to former al-Qaeda affiliate, the Fateh al-Sham Front. "There is no third option here."

Air strikes

Russia launched a massive air campaign in September last year to back longtime ally Assad.

A recent surge of Russian air strikes on besieged rebel-held areas of second city Aleppo have prompted outrage at civilian deaths and the destruction of schools and hospitals.

"It is necessary to liberate the Syrian territory," Peskov said, when asked whether Russia could step away from its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

He said that "we must do everything possible to prevent the partition of the country" since this could lead to "the most catastrophic results for the whole region."

He added that in order to reach a political settlement to end the five-year war, "Assad must be in Damascus."

He said that it was "hard to underestimate the role of the Russian operation" in ensuring such an outcome.

Peskov criticised nations calling for Assad to step down, saying that some were "flirting with the devil and trying to get rid of Assad through the hands of terrorists," while others "carelessly saying that Assad must go."

More jihadist attacks

Russia's aim is to "help Syria's legitimate authorities," he said.

If Damascus is taken over by "terrorists," no political settlement will ever be possible, he charged.

"Those terrorists won't obey any masters or puppet-masters," he said, as he warned that a defeat of Assad's regime would only lead to "new waves of refugees" and more jihadist attacks in Europe.

More than 300 000 people have been killed since Syria's war devolved from a widespread protest movement against Assad's rule in March 2011 to a multi-front war between rebels, jihadists, Kurds and regime forces.

Read more on:    russia  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.