Russia ‘to study Syria requests for troops’

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MOSCOW: Russia says it is ready to consider any request from the Syrian government for the dispatch of military forces to the Arab country, which is involved in heavy battles with foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists.

“If there is any request, then it would naturally be discussed and evaluated through bilateral contacts and dialogue,” spokesman for the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov said Friday, adding, however, that “It is difficult to talk about this hypothetically.”

The comments came a day after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Damascus would ask for the deployment of Russian forces to Syria if need be.

“There is no joint fighting on the ground with Russian troops, but if we felt such a need, we would study it and demand,” Muallem said, adding, however, that the Syrian army and volunteer forces are still capable of fighting militants without foreign assistance.

‘Nothing to hide’

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied recent claims by the United States and its allies that Russia has boots on the ground in Syria.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said her country has never tried to hide its military cooperation with Syria, saying Moscow has openly sent “military specialists” to the Arab state.

She also said Russia is supplying military equipment to Syria in line with previously signed agreements between the two sides on bilateral defense ties, saying such a move is aimed at helping the Arab nation in its anti-terror fight.

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