Putin rules out possibility of ground operations in Syria

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ruled out the possibility of sending Russian troops for ground operations in war-torn Syria.

“This is out of the question,” Putin was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

He said Russia is not going to do this no matter what happens, and “our Syrian friends know about it”.

In response to allegations from Western countries and media that the Russian air campaign in Syria has not targeted the Islamic State (IS) and has led to civilian casualties, the Russian leader retorted that Russia conducted enough reconnaissance before launching the counter-terror attacks, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We have continuously carried out aerial and space reconnaissance, comparing the data we obtained from different sources,” he said.

He added that Moscow notified the US and other partners of its intentions and plans in Syira beforehand.

Russian Air Force carried out 64 sorties in Syria from Saturday to Sunday, destroying a total of 63 IS targets, including the field headquarters of the terrorist group near the northwestern Syrian village of Slama, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.

On September 30, Russia started airstrikes against positions of the IS in Syria, a move that has been criticised by the US to be mainly aiming at striking Syria’s anti-government rebels.