MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia supports the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad because his policy defends both Syria and neighboring states against the Islamic State (ISIL) extremist group, the chairman of Russian-Italian inter-parliamentary commission told Sputnik Italia on Wednesday.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin requested the upper chamber of the Russian parliament approve the use of the Russian Air Force abroad, following a request by Assad. The request was unanimously approved on Wednesday.
"Russia has defended and is defending its political interests in Syria. Russia has always been loyal to Assad and considered him as the defender not only of his country against the main regional threat — the ISIL," Alessandro Pagano said.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011. Government forces have been fighting on multiple fronts against opposition forces and numerous extremist groups, including ISIL.
Moscow, seeking a political solution to the Syrian conflict, hosted two rounds of intra-Syrian reconciliation talks, and has been providing humanitarian aid to people in the conflict-torn country and military equipment to support Damascus in its fight against terrorist groups.