Medvedev says “Russia’s goal in Syria is to ensure national security”
In an interview with Russian PM Medvedevon Israel’s Channel 2 TV the PM he is reported to have said that Russia’s primary aim was to enhance its own security by preventing jihadists from former Soviet republics fighting in Syria from returning to Russia and carrying out attacks there,
In the interview Medvedev who is scheduled to pay a visit to Israel next week is also reported to have mentioned following; “You probably know that thousands of Russian citizens and individuals from other post-Soviet republics are fighting in Syria. These completely brainwashed people return home as professional murderers and terrorists. And we don’t want them to stage something similar in Russia after their Syrian stints expire. First of all, we want them to stay there as Russia already faced similar problems in the Caucasus war in the 1990s”.
It is estimated about 2,900 Russians left for the Middle East and joined the ranks of various jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, including Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) by the end of 2015, according to Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Russian security service, the FSB.
Medvedev went on to say “Russia’s actions in Syria are based not only on the need to counter the growing threat of destabilization of the Middle East but, above all, on the necessity to protect our national interests. List of Russia’s goals in Syria includes lending assistance to President Bashar Assad, as wellç Syrian government addressed us … asking for military assistance. Russia has a relevant treaty and Russian President Vladimir Putin took the decision to render them (Syrian government) military assistance in a limited way that corresponds with our national interests.”
Medvedev also emphasized that “Russia was not helping Assad to retain power, but instead trying to prevent Syria from disintegration” and falling into the hands of terrorists. He said “What we would definitely not like is Syria disintegrating into several enclaves … parts, as it happened in Libya so that each such sector would be controlled by various terrorist groups. It would be very dangerous for everyone. Syria was probably the most stable and civilized Arab state in the Middle East … that balanced the interests of all ethnical and religious groups. What happened in Syria … is sad and provides a sources of instability for the whole Middle East. Transition of power in Syria should take place in a legitimate way through national reconciliation. Various parties to the conflict should sit down at the negotiating table except for outright terrorists to develop a new political system. We don’t know whether this system would have any place for Bashar al-Assad or someone else, this is not our business, and it must be decided by the people of Syria”.
As for the relations with the USA the PM dismissed the US accusations against Russia concerning its actions in Syria by calling them “one-sided” andd said “The US that usually wages two or three military campaigns at the same time never sees its own problems but tries to put the blame on someone else. Each situation, in which civilians fall victims to combat operations, requires investigation.”