The Russian president says he is puzzled by the ineffectiveness of the anti-terrorism efforts of his Western partners in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he “cannot understand” how Western governments claim to be targeting terrorists in Syria when no tangible results are seen on the ground.

“I cannot understand some of our partners in Europe and the States whenever they say they are fighting terrorism but we do not see any real results,” Putin said during a program aired by the Rossiya 1 television channel on Sunday.

The Russian president emphasized that Moscow began its military campaign against terrorists in Syria on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government.

“Let me emphasize this again: we are working in strict compliance with the international law, at the request of the Syrian authorities,” he said.

Putin also called for close cooperation and the exchange of intelligence information between Russia and the US-led coalition which has been carrying out strikes across Syria against purported Daesh positions.

“It is important to bring this joint work to the level of full-scale exchange of intelligence information,” he said.

Since September 2014, the US along with some of its allies has purportedly been conducting airstrikes against Daesh extremists inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

The airstrikes in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq, which started in August 2014.

Many have criticized the ineffectiveness of the coalition raids.

Senior authorities in Russia say hundreds of Chechens have left for Syria to join Daesh Takfiri militants since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab country in 2011.

The Russian president concluded by saying that chances to reach a political solution in the Arab country will grow if the Syrian army proves it is capable of fighting terrorists.

“When international terrorist units, ISIL (Daesh), are close to the capital city [of Syria], then there can be no wish to reach an agreement with the Syrian authorities that are practically besieged,” Putin said, adding, “If the Syrian army proves its viability and readiness to fight terrorism, if it shows that the authorities can do that, then chances to reach political compromises will be much higher.”

A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM jet fighters landing on a runway at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. (Photo by AFP)

 

The developments come as Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air support, have made gains in their fight against foreign-sponsored militants in the country’s west-central and northwestern provinces of Hama and Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Russian fighter jets had conducted 64 sorties over Syria over the past 24 hours, hitting 55 positions of the Takfiri Daesh militant group.

The ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said the aerial assaults destroyed major technical and logistic support objects belonging to Daesh terrorists as well as a fortified area that housed ammunition depots.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the United Nations (UN).

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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