07:51 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Portrait of President Bashar al-Assad on the Bank of Syria building in Damascus.

    Kremlin: Russia Helps Assad Because Only Syrian Army Can Defeat ISIL

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    Russia is providing aid to the Syrian army because it believes this is the only force capable of confronting the Islamic State, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — There are no other organized forces capable of fighting against ISIL except for the Syrian government army, Peskov said.

    "The Russian side has repeatedly noted the obvious threat of ISIL and its constant attempts to expand the territory of its influence, the territory controlled by the Islamic State. And, of course, the only force that can oppose this advancement is the Syrian army. There are simply no other organized, capable forces there. Therefore, Russia, of course, sees a task of supporting Syrian authorities in fighting this dangerous phenomenon," Peskov told reporters.

    Earlier on Thursday, it was reported by Russian newspaper Kommersant that Moscow supplies Syrian government forces with firearms, grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers as the country is struggling with radical ISIL militants.

    The newspaper added that the weaponry and military hardware are needed to help the Syrian army counter the advances of ISIL radicals, who have ceased vast areas in the country.

    According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia provides "considerable" support to Syria in terms of equipment, training and weaponry.

    On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed that Russian military specialists deployed in Syria were not participating in military operations in the conflict-torn country and were limited to an "advisory role."

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011. Government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are fighting against several opposition and radical Islamist militant groups, including the al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) and ISIL radicals.

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    military aid, Dmitry Peskov, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syria
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