‘Syrian govt. to decide on Russia’s military presence after war’

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A senior Russian diplomat says his country’s military presence in Syria after the war is over will be contingent upon Damascus’ decision.

“When the war on terror is over and when there is no need to help Syrians in the fight against terrorism, we will be oriented to the decision of the sovereign state represented by its government: whether we are needed or whether our mission is over and the Syrian people and the Syrian leadership do not need such support,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview with the Israeli TV and Radio Broadcasting Company Kan on Saturday.

Russian jets have been conducting air raids against Daesh Takfiri militants and other terror outfits inside Syria at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow had set no deadline for a pullout from Syria, noting that everything depended on the situation.

Lavrov rules out Russian pullout from Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the West’s interventions in the Middle East and North Africa benefit Takfiri terrorist groups operating in the region.

Earlier on Friday, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Syria would be discussed comprehensively during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, in the Finnish capital Helsinki on July 16.

The Syrian army is already engaged in a massive operation against Takfiri terrorists in the strategic southwestern province of Dara’a and it has managed to wrest control over several towns and villages in the area.

Syria’s southwestern region is strategically sensitive because of its proximity to the frontiers with both Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The territory’s return to Syrian government control would cut the much-reported collaboration between Israel and militants and deal a blow to Tel Aviv’s plans to consolidate its grip on the Golan Heights, which have been used by the regime to treat wounded militants for years.

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