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Putin does not rule out Russian strikes in Syria

/ 08:30 AM September 29, 2015
Mideast Syria

In this picture released on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 by the website of Islamic State militants, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters take cover during a battle against Syrian government forces on a road between Homs and Palmyra, Syria. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants overran the famed archaeological site at Palmyra early on Thursday, just hours after seizing the central Syrian town, activists and officials said, raising concerns the extremists might destroy some of the priceless ruins as they have done in neighboring Iraq. AP

UNITED NATIONS, United States—President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia had not ruled out air strikes in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces in their battle against jihadist rebels.

“We are thinking about it. We don’t rule anything out. But if we are to act, it will only be fully respecting international legal norms,” he told reporters at the United Nations in New York.

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READ: Russia enlarges Syria base as US-trained rebs give to al Qaeda

Those norms, he said, require strikes be requested by the country’s government or authorized by a UN Security Council resolution, unlike those being carried out in Syria by a US-led coalition.

As for ground forces, Putin said they would not be used.

“We are thinking about how to additionally help the Syrian army,” he said, after meeting US President Barack Obama. “In terms of ground troops … there can be no talk of Russian involvement.”

READ: Obama, Putin to confront tensions over Syria, Ukraine

Putin said he and Obama had agreed to pursue talks about how the actions of their militaries can be better coordinated to avoid accidental encounters in the field.

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TAGS: Air Strikes, Bashar al-Assad, battle, Government, jihadist, Politics, President, rebels, Russia, support, Syria, Vladimir Putin
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