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Russia's Putin defends air campaign in Syria

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Russia's Putin defends air campaign in Syria
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President Vladimir Putin has defended Russia’s air campaign in Syria, stressing the aim is to restore peace.

He has also called for joined up efforts, saying there is an opportunity for Moscow to work with the West, and for Kurdish forces to form a coalition with the Syrian government.

Putin lashed out at the West’s approach to date.

“Why haven’t the efforts of our American partners and their allies against ISIL produced any tangible results?” asked Putin, as he addressed a meeting of foreign and domestic political scientists in Sochi, southern Russia.

“Because it’s always difficult to lead a double game: claim that you fight terrorists and, at the same time, try to use some part of these terrorists to advance pieces on the Middle-Eastern chessboard, in your own interests.”

Putin also said that Moscow is close to exchanging data about positions of Islamist militants in Syria with Western countries.

Meanwhile, a Russian Defence Ministry official has reportedly denied US allegations that the Russian military had used cluster bombs in populated areas in Syria.