Syria: We'll Ask for Russia's Help if We Need It

Syria's foreign minister says his country would ask Russia for military assistance if needed, denies Russian troops are there now.

Ben Ariel ,

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, on Thursday said his country would request Russian troops to fight alongside its troops if the need arose, but stressed that there were no Russia combat troops in Syria now.

"There is no joint fighting on the ground with Russian troops but if we felt such a need we would study it and ask," Moualem told state television, according to the Reuters news agency.

Although the Syrian army has so far able to fight on its own, there was a need for state of the art weapons to tackle the insurgents trying to topple President Bashar Al-Assad's government, he added.

"So far the Syrian army is able (on its own) and what we need frankly is more of the ammunition and qualitative weapons to face the type of qualitative weapons of these terrorist groups," said the Syrian Foreign Minister.

Russian military support was so far limited to arms supplies and training on new weapons from Russia, Moualem claimed, adding that his country's ties with Moscow were strategic.

The comments follow recent reports that Russia had sent a military advance team to Syria and had been increasing its military presence in the war-torn country.

The United States was so concerned about these reports that Secretary of State John Kerry phoned his Russian counterpart a total of three times in ten days to discuss the situation.

The Russian government said on Thursday its military support for Damascus was aimed at fighting terrorism, safeguarding Syria's statehood and preventing a "total catastrophe" in the region.

Lavrov reiterated earlier this week that Russia will support the Syrian government in the fight against ISIS, saying that excluding the Syrian army from the fight against ISIS is “absurd”.

Meanwhile, a Syrian military source revealed earlier Thursday that Assad's regime has in recent weeks begun using advanced air and ground weapons from Russia.

The source told Reuters that the new weapons feature high efficiency and accuracy, and that Assad's army trained on them for several months before their recent deployment on the battlefield.