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Two Russian aid planes land in Syria: State media

AFP , Saturday 12 Sep 2015
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Views: 874

Two Russian planes carrying humanitarian aid landed in Syria on Saturday, state media said, amid reports that Moscow is beefing up military support to its ally Damascus.

"Two Russian planes arrived today at the Latakia Martyr Bassil al-Assad international airport carrying 80 tonnes of humanitarian aid provided by Russia," state news reported.

Coastal Latakia province is a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad and home to his ancestral village.

The reported aid delivery comes as Washington has expressed concern about an alleged Russian military build-up in Syria.

US officials say Russia has sent ships, armoured personnel carriers and naval infantry to the country in recent weeks.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama said Russia's decision to send military advisors and equipment to bolster Assad was only extending a strategy "doomed to failure."

"The strategy that they are pursuing right now, doubling down on Assad, I think is a big mistake," Obama said

Moscow and Syria have denied any Russian military build-up, but on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday Moscow would provide additional help to Damascus if requested.

"We helped, are continuing to help and will help the Syrian government when it comes to supplying the Syrian army with everything it needs," he said.

"Russian is sending planes to Syria with both military equipment in accordance with current contracts and humanitarian aid," he said.

"Russia is not taking any additional steps."

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