Syria's Assad wrote to Putin over military support: statement

Syria's president Bashar al-Assad speaks during his meeting with the heads and members of public organizations and professional associations in Damascus, Syria, in this handout released by Syria's national news agency SANA on July 26, 2015. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters/Files -

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - The Syrian presidency said on Wednesday any increase in Russian military support to Syria was the result of a request, and President Bashar al-Assad had written to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in that regard.

In a statement to Reuters, the presidency’s media office said: “Any increase in Russian military support to Syria happened and is happening as a result of a request from the Syrian state.”

The Russian parliament on Wednesday unanimously granted Putin the right to deploy the country’s military in Syria, a move a top Kremlin aide said related only to the air force.

The statement said the Syrian request was based on international agreements and laws that govern ties between states and aim “to realize the interests of their nations and guarantee the integrity of their lands”.

Reporting by Kinda Makieh; Writing by Tom Perry; editing by John Stonestreet