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Posted at: Oct 18, 2015, 12:19 AM; last updated: Oct 17, 2015, 10:32 PM (IST)

Russia: Defending national interests in Syria, not Assad

Moscow, October 17

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said today that Russia is fighting for its national interests in Syria, not for President Bashar al-Assad.

"Of course we are not fighting for specific leaders, we are defending our national interests, on the one hand," Medvedev said in an interview to air on state television.

"And secondly, we have a request from the lawful authorities (of Syria). That is the basis we are working on," he said, quoted on the government website.

Medvedev said Russia in Syria is defending itself against the threat of Islamist extremists coming to its own country. "The president said this: it's obvious that if we don't destroy these terrorists there, they will come to Russia." — AFP

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