Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered his Defense Ministry to coordinate actions in Syria with Israel’s command post and the US-led international coalition, TASS reported.
“It’s important to develop cooperation with all countries who are really interested in destroying terrorists. I am talking about contacts on ensuring flight safety with the command post of Israel’s air force and forces of the US-led coalition,” Putin said.
Putin also had ordered the Russian military to destroy any targets that threaten Russian Armed Forces in Syria. “I order you to act very tough,” Putin told a session of the Defense Ministry’s brass. “Any targets that threaten Russian forces or our infrastructure on the ground should be immediately destroyed.”
Putin warned against “those who will again try to organize any provocations against our servicemen. … We have already taken additional measures to ensure the security of Russian servicemen and air base. It was strengthened by new aviation groups and missile defense systems. Strike aircraft will now carry out operations under cover of fighter jets,” Putin said.
He noted that the Russian military have caused a substantial damage to terrorists in Syria, adding that the actions of the Russian Armed Forces are praiseworthy. “The combined operation of the Aerospace Defense Forces and the Navy, the use of newest high precision weapons systems has caused a serious damage to the terrorist infrastructure, thus qualitatively changing the situation in Syria,” Putin said.
With about 20 million Russian Muslims and many more in the former Soviet republics to the south of Russia, Putin stressed that representatives of various ethnic groups, not only from Russia’s North Caucasus but also from other regions, are taking part in the combat actions against ISIS in Syria, and also boast of their participating in “punitive actions.”
“All this is a direct threat to Russia and our military in Syria first of all protect their country. Our actions there are not due to any unclear and abstract geopolitical interests, or the wish to get training and test new weapons systems,” Putin said, adding, “This is not the most important thing. The goal is to avert the threat to the Russian Federation itself.”