Cairo, 23 Dzulhijjah 1436/7 October 2015 (MINA) – Egypt on Monday signaled its support for recent Russian airstrikes in Syria, saying the strikes were intended to combat “terrorism” in the war-ravaged country.
“The fight against terrorism in Syria isn’t only supported by Egypt, but by all countries of the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a television interview.
Russia began flying combat missions over Syria on September 30 in a major escalation of its ongoing military support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting
While Moscow says it is targeting positions in Syria held by the Daesh militant group, the US and its allies say the Russian airstrikes are targeting “moderate” forces fighting the Assad regime.
Repeated attempts by Anadolu Agency to obtain comments from Abu Zeid were not successful.
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, speaking to the Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya television channel, likewise said the Russian airstrikes were intended to “combat terrorism”.
“We believe Russia’s intervention [in Syria], given its capabilities, will serve to limit terrorism in Syria and eventually eradicate it,” he said.
Abu Zeid also reiterated Egypt’s calls for a political solution to the Syria conflict, now in its fifth year.
Syria has been gripped by bitter fighting since the Assad regime cracked down on anti-government protests – which began in March 2011 as part of the “Arab Spring” uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.
According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, which continues to pit several heavily-armed factions – including the regime and Daesh – against one another.
Egyptian-Russian relations have grown closer since 2013, when the Egyptian military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected leader.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who assumed the presidency last year following Morsi’s overthrow, has visited Russia four times, most recently in August, when Russian officials announced plans to help Egypt build its first nuclear power plant. (T/P002/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)