Syria would request Russian troops if needed but no combat troops now: Minister

Reuters , Thursday 17 Sep 2015

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. (Photo: AP)

Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Moualem said his country would request Russian troops to fight alongside its troops if the need arose but denied there were combat troops there now.

"There is no joint fighting on the ground with Russian troops but if we felt such a need we would study it and ask," Moualem told state television.

Although the Syrian army has so far able to fight on its own, there was a need for state of the art weapons to tackle the insurgents trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad's government, he added.

"So far the Syrian army is able (on its own) and what we need frankly is more of the ammunition and qualitative weapons to face the type of qualitative weapons of these terrorist groups," he added.

Russian military support was so far limited to arms supplies and training on new weapons from Russia, Moualem said, adding that his country's ties with Moscow were strategic.

The Russian government said on Thursday its military support for Damascus was aimed at fighting terrorism, safeguarding Syria's statehood and preventing a "total catastrophe" in the region.

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