00:16 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Athens Says Russia No Longer Needs Greek Airspace for Aid Flights to Syria

    Press-service of Russian Emergency Situations Ministry
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    According to a Greek government spokesperson, Russia no longer needs access to Greek airspace to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria, Reuters reported.

    According to Reuters, Athens said that Russian aircraft delivering humanitarian aid to Syria would bypass Greece using an air route to the east of the country.

    However, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Konstantinos Koutras told Sputnik that Athens cannot confirm the reports.

    "Right now I can only confirm that we received such a request on Sunday and it is under discussion," Koutras said. "I don't have such information," he said commenting on reports that Russia would avoid Greek airspace in order to deliver humanitarian aid to the war-torn country in the Middle East.

    On Saturday, the US embassy appealed to Athens with a request to prohibit the flights of Russian aircraft providing aid to Syria, however, Greece refused to do so, a source told RIA Novosti.

    First Deputy Head of the International Committee of the Russian Federation Council Vladimir Jabbarov said Monday that Russia may use new flight aid routes to Syria if Greece closes its airspace to Russian aircraft.

    The Russian senator stressed that Iran, Turkey and Central Asian states may assist Russia with regard to its humanitarian mission in Syria.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011 as government forces loyal to President Assad have been fighting several opposition and radical Islamist militant groups, including Nusra Front and Islamic State.

    A number of Western countries have long supported what they call "moderate" rebel fighters, while Russia has repeatedly stated that Assad is the legitimate president of Syria, and that the people of Syria must choose their government and leaders without outside intervention.

    In August, the Syrian president said that he highly appreciated Russia's assistance, by which Moscow had proved its firm position in supporting Damascus during the military conflict.

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    airspace, humanitarian aid, Syria, Russia, Greece
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