Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Military-Technical Cooperation with Syria
Russia has never made a secret of its military-technical cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic. Our country has long supplied Syria with weapons and hardware under bilateral contracts. There are Russian military experts who help Syrians to master exported hardware. Thus, there is a service centre for Russian warships in Tartus.
The arms transferred to the Syrian army are designed for countering the terrorist threat, which has reached unprecedented proportions in Syria and neighbouring Iraq. Terrorists have challenged the entire international community, including Russia. We have said more than once that about two thousand Russian citizens are fighting on the side of extremist formations in Syria and Iraq. Today the Syrian and Iraqi regular armies bear the brunt of fighting the Islamic State on the ground.
We believe that coordinated actions with the Syrian armed forces should be a major element in consolidating efforts to counter terrorism by a broad coalition that President Vladimir Putin has urged to establish. The proposed coalition should include units of Syrian moderate opposition, Kurdish self-defence forces and major international regional players that are aware of the extremely serious threat emanating from the ISIS and other terrorist groups.
If need be, we will consider additional measures on increasing support for the anti-terrorist efforts. In any case these measures will be in compliance with international and Russian legislation.
September 9, 2015