Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov this week denied the presence of Russian military experts in Syria, pointing out in an interview with Al Arabiya that military operations with Syria are currently limited.
“We do not have military experts in Syria, I have been working in Syria for 10 years; I spent 10 years there and I remember the time when the Soviet Union had thousands of military experts in Syria. But now there are almost none of them. They have all left. The technical military cooperation is limited and because of the difficult and harsh circumstances, almost all companies withdrew,” Bogdanov said.
In statements during his visit to Paris, Bogdanov confirmed that Moscow will carry on its support to Syria after the current crisis.
“We used to provide the Syrian army with Soviet and Russian weapons, in order to strengthen its defense against external aggression since the fifties and during the 1967 and 1973 wars. We always used to deal with Syria as a very dear country with which we have had traditional relations for decades,” said Bogdanov.
The Russian deputy foreign minister repeated that his country’s position refuses any foreign intervention in Syria. And in his interview with Al Arabiya, he said that the national dialogue is the only solution.
“We will not participate in any internal conflict; we will not support one Arab Islamic group against another. We hope that our Arab and Muslim friends deal with their problems peacefully through national dialogue on the basis of national reconciliation,” said Bogdanov.
Bogdanov rejected calls to change the Syrian regime before the transitional phase in Syria, asking “Why do we opt for a political operation if it is not linked to overthrowing the regime?”