MOSCOW, March 17 (Xinhua) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday promised further support for the legitimate government of Syria.
“The support is comprehensive: financial assistance, supplies of weapons and armaments, intelligence support, and staff assistance in planning operations,” Putin said.
He added that the “Russian troops stay in Syria would be enough to cope with the tasks set to them.”
Praising Russian soldiers for “opening the road to peace,” Putin said the Russian side managed to establish constructive cooperation with the U.S. and moderate Syrian opposition forces.
“We have created conditions for the beginning of the peace process,” Putin was quoted by a Kremlin transcript.
The president also hailed his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad’s “restraint, sincere striving for peace and readiness for compromise and dialogue.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed later in the day that requests for Assad’s resignation were “outside any internal legislative provisions or Syria’s domestic legislation.”
Zakharova reiterated Russia’s call for Syrian Kurds to join the Geneva talks.
With regard to recent move of the Kurds planning to declare a federal system in northern Syria, Zakharova said Syria’s state structure should be decided through inclusive political dialogues and negotiations over the country’s constitution.
“We see Syria’s future as of a secular democratic state but it’s certainly the task of the Syrian people who should draw the state’s concrete contours,” Zakharova said.
She also urged all related parties, regional and international, to try the best and contribute to the success of the ongoing intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.
Russia and western countries have been at odds over several Syrian issues including whether Assad is to remain in power in the future and the participation of Syrian Kurds in the political process, which was firmly opposed by Turkey as it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Turkey sees the PYD as an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has been angered by the Kurds’ consolidation along its southern border.