MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says the Russian air campaign in Syria will continue as long as it's necessary to support the Syrian army offensive against "terrorists."
Speaking to Russian and Turkish media before his trip to the G20 summit in Turkey, Putin said Russian forces have a "clear task to provide air support for the Syrian army's offensive against terrorists." He added that "the time of our military's stay will be determined exclusively by the fulfillment of that goal."
In comments released by the Kremlin Friday, he dismissed the claims by the U.S. and its allies that Russian warplanes have mostly targeted moderate opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad instead of their declared main target, the Islamic State group.
He reaffirmed that Assad's political fate should be discussed by the Syrians.