Putin claims Russian military role stopping Syria's division

Russian President Vladimir Putin claims Russia’s military intervention in Syria has prevented disintegration of Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 19, 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Wednesday that the Kremlin’s military effort in Syria has stopped the fragmentation of the country.

With the aid of Russian air strikes Syrian regime forces have saved at least 400 settlements, Putin said while neeting with foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin.

Russia started a military operation in support of Syrian autocrat Bashar al Assad on September 30, 2015. As part of the operation it has bombed opposition forces supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

President Vladimir Putin last month withdrew some of the Russian forces, but maintained an air base in Latakia and kept up air strikes.

More than 5801 people have been killed by Russian air strikes in Syria since Russia started a military operation in the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on March 31.

A man carries two girls as he walks through rubble in an opposition-held area in northern Syria. (AFP Archive)

The Britain-based observatory, which follows the war through a net of on the ground contacts, said that the documented death toll from the strikes includes civilians, oppositions, Nusra Front militants and DAESH terrorists. It said 1869 civilians were killed, including 446 children under the age of 18.

The SOHR also reported the Syrian regime has used barrel bombs on opposition-held areas but the regime denies dropping them even though the UN Commission of Inquiry and other commissions have widely reported the occurrence barrel bombings in Syria.

The war in Syria, which has so far killed more than 250,000 people, has created the world’s biggest refugee crisis and allowed for the rise of terrorist groups such as DAESH.

Around 5 million Syrians have taken refuge in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, with Turkey hosting the largest number at 3 million.

TRTWorld and agencies