Will Help Damascus if it is attacked : Putin

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Balasubramani Mariappan

Russia will help Syria if it comes under attack, President Vladimir Putin has said, stressing that a majority of world leaders attending a G20 Summit in St.Petersburg came out against military intervention. Asked at a post-summit press conference if Russia would continue to support the Syrian government in the event of a U.S. military strike Mr.Putin said. “Will we help Syria? We Will. We are already helping, we are sending arms and cooperating in the economic sphere. I hope we will expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, including relief aid to support civilians who have found themselves in a very dire situation in that country.”

The Russian leader said G20 was divided on the Syrian crisis but a great majority of the world leaders gathered in St.Petersburg clearly opposed unilateral military intervention in Syria. “I can tell you who favoured military action. It is the U.S., Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia and France, while British Prime Minister’s support for the U.S. was not shared by his citizens,” Mr.Putin said. “Now, who were categorically against: Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy.” Mr.Putin said he took not of the “Unexpectedly” strong stand taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Sing against unilateral military action.

Syria was not on official agenda of the G20 summit, but the world leaders spent the “entire” Thursday evening discussing the Syrian crisis over dinner which stretched late into the night, Mr.Putin said. The Russian President said he had a “Substantive, constructive” 20 minute meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, but failed to bridge their differences over Syria.

At a separate press conference, Mr. Obama claimed growing support from other nations, but did not say if any other country apart from France was ready to join in his move.

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