Last updated: 24 October, 2015

Syria says operations with Russia achieving ‘big results’

Joint operations between Syrian and Russian forces are achieving "big results," Syria's parliament chief told a visiting Russian parliamentary delegation on Saturday, state news agency SANA reported.

“The coordination between Syrian and Russian forces during the implementation of air and ground operations has begun to achieve big results in defeating and eradicating terrorism in Syria and Iraq,” Jihad al-Lahham said.

He also defended joint Russian-Syrian operations as “the only legitimate coalition against international terrorism” in a dig at a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group that does not coordinate with Damascus.

Russia began an aerial campaign in Syria on September 30, in response to a request from Damascus.

Moscow says it is targeting IS and other “terrorists,” but Syrian rebels and their backers say Russian strikes have focused on moderate and Islamist fighters, not jihadists.

Russia and Iran have proved staunch allies of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime throughout the uprising against it that begin in March 2011.

Lahham said Syria was working with Russia and Iran “to push forward a political solution in parallel with the fight against terrorism”.

The delegation’s visit to Damascus comes a few days after Assad made a surprise trip to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

It was his first known overseas trip since the war in Syria began.