Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that President Bashar al-Assad is Moscow’s main ally in the fight against terrorism.
In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Thursday, Putin said Russia and France agreed to exchange intelligence data on ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and to enhance joint efforts in the fight against terrorism.
He noted that the Russian air forces have been strengthened against terrorists in Syria, adding that ISIS and other terrorist organizations have suffered heavy losses in the Russian airstrikes as a very large part of their infrastructure were destroyed and their funding sources, especially the oil infrastructure, were targeted.
“We all believe that it’s impossible to successfully fight the terrorists in Syria without ground operations,” he affirmed.
Putin made it clear that “there’s no other force to conduct ground operations against ISIS … except the government army of Syria. In this regard, I think that the army of President Assad and he himself are our natural allies in the fight against terrorism.”