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20151017
The goal of Russia's air campaign in Syria is not to protect President Bashar Assad, but to fight terrorists, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.

Censor.NET reports citing Gazeta.ru.

In an interview with the Vesti v Subbotu television show Medvedev has unconvincingly tried to deny all accusations against Russia suggesting its operation in Syria aims to support Assad. "No, that is absolutely not true. The Syrian people should decide who will rule the country… At the moment we consider Assad to be legitimate president," Medvedev said.

"That is why, of course, we are not fighting for some specific leaders, we are protecting our national interests, on the one hand. The president [Vladimir Putin] once said that if we do not eliminate those terrorists they will come to Russia. And secondly, there is an official request from the Syrian legitimate government," Medvedev said.

It is not important for Russia who will head the Syrian government in the future as long as it is a legitimate and civilized power, not the Islamic State jihadist group, he added.

At the same time, "only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed at Islamic State targets", British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, commenting firsts Russia's attacks in Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed Russia is backing "the butcher" President Bashar al-Assad rather than fighting terrorism in Syria.

censor.net.ua In Russian
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