Russia Will Not Conduct Ground Operation in Syria

Russia Will Not Conduct Ground Operation in SyriaRussia Will Not Conduct Ground Operation in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Moscow would not deploy ground troops to Syria, where it has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets.

"We are not planning on doing this (conducting a ground operation), and our Syrian friends know about this," Putin said in an interview broadcast on state-run Rossiya-1 television channel, AFP reported. Using modern jets and older Soviet aircraft, Russia has bombed command posts and training camps of the extremist group, backing a ground offensive by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin said Sunday that the Russian operation's objective was to "stabilize the legitimate authorities and create conditions for finding a political compromise."

The Russian Defense Ministry said Sunday its air force had struck 63 targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, destroying an IS command post and several defensive positions and ammunition depots. Putin also brushed off criticism by the US-led coalition that the Russian Air Force was not providing it with sufficient advance notice prior to conducting strikes.