Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg that Russia would aid Syria and Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the event of a foreign military attack, according to local reports.
“Will we help Syria? We will,” Putin said. “And we are already helping, we send arms, we cooperate in the economics sphere, we hope to expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, which includes sending humanitarian aid to support those people – the civilians – who have found themselves in a very dire situation in this country.”
Putin and President Obama have publicly been at odds over military strikes against al-Assad since Obama first proposed them. Putin has cast doubt on U.S. evidence that al-Assad’s forces carried out the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus that killed more than 1,000 people, and his government has released its own report concluding that the Syrian rebels conducted the attack.