Putin defends Assad regime in Syria in his UN address

Russian President Vladimir Putin says not cooperating with Assad in Syria is 'huge mistake', claims regime is fighting against 'terrorist organisations' in Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President, Vladimir Putin addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015.

Updated Sep 29, 2015

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was a huge mistake not to cooperate with Bashar al Assad regime in Syria and added it is the main force fighting against terrorism in the country. 

"We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face," Putin told the UN General Assembly.

Putin''s remarks at the UN were in direct opposition to the perspective presented by the US President Barack Obama who also addressed the world leaders at the meeting shortly before Putin. 

"We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo," Obama said.

The US wants Assad to step down and is holding him responsible for the four-year-long bloody civil war, in which at least 250,000 people lost their lives and millions have been displaced both internally and abroad seeking refuge.

Russia has been supportive of Assad since the start of Syrian civil war in 2011 and have recently stepped up its military aid by sending tanks, fighter jets and military experts to Syria, claiming its helping the Assad regime in its fight against "terrorism."

"We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and his militia are truly fighting the Islamic State [ISIS] and other terrorist organizations in Syria," Putin said during his speech in New York.

Obama said "Tyrants like Bashar al Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children" cannot be supported under any circumstances.

Moscow’s support for the Assad regime has raised anxieties in the West, with US officials expressing concerns over a potential standoff between Washington and Moscow, if US-backed Syrian opposition forces are targeted by Russian troops. However, Putin has insisted on supporting the Assad regime.

US officials say they suspect Russian build-up in Syria reflects Moscow’s fear that the Assad’s regime might end and Russia is supporting Assad to maintain its own influence in the Middle East.

Despite the divergent perspectives on the Assad regime, Obama's speech at the UN signaled a possible compromise between the US and Russia for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict," Obama said at the annual gathering of world leaders.

The two leaders are set to meet later on Monday, where Syrian conflict is expected to be one of the main topics. 

TRTWorld and agencies