Putin defends Russian military in Syria, saying can’t defeat ISIS without propping up Assad

Putin defends Russian military in Syria, saying can’t defeat ISIS without propping up Assad
(Image: Sergei Karpukhin/File-Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday strongly defended Moscow’s military assistance to the Syrian government, saying it’s impossible to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant without co-operating with Damascus.

Putin’s statement comes amid the signs of an ongoing Russian military buildup in Syria, which the U.S. says signals Moscow’s intention to set up an air base there.

Speaking at a meeting of heads of states at a Moscow-dominated security alliance of ex-Soviet nations in Tajikistan, Putin urged other nations to follow Russia’s example and offer military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

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