Russia arms Syria, Iraq: Russian FM

Lavrov says Russia is army Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS, criticising Saudi air-strikes in Yemen

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday his country has been arming Syria and Iraq to help them in fight against ISIS, labeling the group as the main threat to Russia's security.

ISIS, which lost vast amount of land in Iraq after the United States-led coalition forces helped Iraqi forces in the offensive, has been forced to retreat to Syria.

Russian top diplomat said Russia is helping both Syria and Iraq by providing weapons to their armies and security forces, underlining the threat of foreign fighters returning to of their homes.

“[People] used to say: let them fight there all their life and just let them not come back, but they are already coming back,” said Lavrov.

“And they would fight there for some time, then take a rest and to enjoy themselves could stage vile acts at home.”

Russia has been one of the strongest supporters of Syria in the international arena, especially since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, which killed more than 220,000 people.

Saudi air strikes in Yemen proved to be counter-productive

Russian foreign minister also criticised the Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen, saying they caused Al Qaeda to advance in the country.

Saudi Arabia launched a military operation on March 25 against Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi fighters in Yemen, with a coalition comprised of 10 countries to intervene in the escalating crisis which gripped the country. The coalition later announced that the operations were launched after a request from the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Lavrov said the Saudi-led bombardments let ISIS and Al Qaeda benefit the most.

“They took the positions previously occupied by the Houthis, from which they (Houthis) were pushed by the air strikes," said Lavrov.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has also warned about Al Qaeda advance in Yemen on April 8.

Carter said Al Qaeda made direct gains on the ground in Yemen as they try to take and seize territory in the battle lines.

Russia evacuates 160 citizens from Yemen

Russia announced it sent the ninth plane to Yemen to evacuate its own citizens and also other foreign nationals from the conflict-torn country on Thursday.

A hundred and sixty people were evacuated from the country in the latest operation in which there were also citizens of other countries, including Cuba, Armenia, and Kazakhstan, according to reports.

TRTWorld and agencies