Lavrov to Sputnik: Assad Not Moscow's Ally Like Ankara is to Washington

© Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin / Go to the photo bankPresident Vladimir Putin meets with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad
President Vladimir Putin meets with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad - Sputnik International
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Syrian President Bashar Assad is not Moscow's ally like Ankara is to Washington despite Russia's support of the Syrian leader in his fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States, the European Union, as well as their allies in the Middle Eastern region consider Syrian President Bashar Assad to be illegitimate and call for his resignation, while Russia and Iran insist that it was up to Syrian people to decide the fate of their country and leadership.

"Assad is not our ally, by the way. Yes, we support him in the fight against terrorism and in preserving the Syrian state. But he is not an ally like Turkey is the ally of the United States," Lavrov said.

Syrian volunteers and their relatives wave the national flag and portraits of President Bashar al-Assad as they celebrate at the end of a paramilitary training conducted by the Syrian army in al-Qtaifeh, 50 kms north of the capital Damascus on February 22, 2016 - Sputnik International
Nothing Else Matters? Washington Doesn't Care 'Assad Very Popular' in Syria
On September 30, Moscow began its air campaign in Syria on Damascus' request, during which the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted precision airstrikes against the extremists' targets. On March 14, Putin ordered to withdraw most of Russia's military contingent from Syria after accomplishing its objective.

The Russian leader has repeatedly stated that Moscow’s campaign in the war-torn country would only be limited to air operations.

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