ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — The Russian president noted that the settlement of the conflict in Syria must ensure political transformation.
“I wish to emphasize once again what our stance is based on. Our stance is based on concern that Syria could plunge into the same state as Libya or Iraq. After all, before the power structure in Iraq and Saddam Hussein were destroyed, there were no terrorists there, lets not forget about that.”
“We are ready to work with the president [of Syria, Bashar Assad] to pave a way for political transformation, so that all people living in Syria could have access to the tools of power, to escape from armed confrontation,” Putin said, stressing that this cannot be done by force.
A number of Western countries have long supported the so-called Syrian "moderate" rebels, while Russia has repeatedly stressed that Assad is the legitimate president of Syria, and that Syrian people must choose their government and leaders without outside intervention.
Libya is currently facing its worst wave of violence since the beginning of a civil war prompted by the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
After the US invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has been engulfed in ongoing violence. Large swathes of Iraq are currently controlled by the Islamic State jihadist group.