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No Russia-Israel coordination on Syria strikes: Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rejected reports that Russia had coordinated or even known in advance about the recent Israeli strikes on the Arab country.

“Russia never coordinated with anyone against Syria, either politically or militarily, and that’s contradiction” Assad said during an interview with the British Daily Mail newspaper released on Sunday.

“How could they help the Syrian Army advancing and at the same time work with our enemies in order to destroy our army?” he added, rejecting the allegations mostly made in the Israeli media.

Assad further stressed that Russia’s policy towards Syria is based on non-interference in the Arab country’s internal affairs.

“We’ve had good relations with Russia for more than six decades now, nearly seven decades. They never, during our relation, try to dictate, even if there are differences,” he said.

The president described the Syrian Army as “the main party” that has been fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group with the help of the Russians and Iranians over the past years.

However, he said, the Western military alliance led by the Americans has actually been supporting Daesh by attacking the Syrian military.

Assad said there is a “big difference” between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of the issues in the Middle East and those of US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“The Russians were invited by the Syrian government, their existence in Syria is a legitimate existence, the same for the Iranians. While for the United States, the UK, it is illegal, it is an invasion, they are breaching the sovereignty of Syria – a sovereign country. So, their existence is not legal at all, it is an illegitimate existence,” he said.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded the withdrawal of “all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.”

In response, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the issue was not up for discussion.

Iran offers Syria advisory military support in its fight against terrorism.

Russia has military advisers in Syria and runs a number of military bases, from which it has been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign on behalf of the Syrian government.

On the contrary, the US has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

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