Not Syrian people but militants fighting Assad in Syria - Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that not the Syrian people but militants are fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"The premise that Assad is using weapons against his own people can be accepted as true only with significant reservations, because those who are fighting Assad are far from being the Syrian people but are rather militants, who are perfectly trained and armed, including from abroad, through channels that include those run by terrorist organizations," Putin said at a press conference following negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russia is concerned that a political vacuum will emerge in Syria if President Bashar al-Assad leaves power now.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said terrorist might fill the country if Assad goes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against simplistic interpretations of differences on Syria between various members of the international community by reducing them solely to disagreements between the US and Russia.
"It has been decided in Europe and at the UN forum that shipments of weapons to non-governmental units [in Syria], especially in the conflict area, are impossible. It is true that there are certain differences on this matter between us and, say, the United States. But not only between Russia and the U.S.," Putin said in taking questions at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
"This is not only about the U.S.' and Russia's positions.
All of the G8 members are self-sufficient states, and their leaders are self-sufficient statesmen of a global scale, and each of them has their own opinion regarding the current problems, not only in Syria but also in other regions of the world," he said.
"When someone thinks that Russia is on the one side and the U.S. is on the other, this is wrong, this is a simplistic view on complicated global processes," Putin said.
Answering a question about a conference on Syria Geneva-2 and arm supplies to Assad's regime Putin said: "We aren't breaking any international laws".
Russian president Vladimir Putin was asked whether it was possible for a Geneva-2 conference to take place if Russia and the US have tensions on arms supplies to Syria.
The US has decided to supply weapons to the Syrian opposition, while Russia will supply arms to the Syrian regime.
Mr. Putin said that Russian supplies don't violate any international laws. Besides, the Syrian opposition has been receiving Western weapons for a long time, Putin said.
A large amount of weapons and well-trained armed formations are being sent to the Syrian opposition from abroad, said President Vladimir Putin.
"Regarding the opposition, I would like to make a point that it has been receiving arms from abroad for a long time. We are not going to discuss the origin of these weapons. But it is clear that without arms shipments the situation in Syria would not have been what it is now," Putin said at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
"Money, weapons and well trained armed formations are arriving from abroad - not entirely, but largely from abroad," he said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax