Russia MPs Allow Use of Military in Syria
The Russian Federation Council has voted to approve the use of the country's army in military operations abroad, RIA Novosti agency has said.
No region had been initially specified, but officials later explained the move referred to Syria.
The move comes amid reports of increased activity of Russia in Syria, with President Vladimir Putin having pledged to back the government of his ally President Bashar al-Assad to prevent the country from descending into further chaos.
Lawmakers took the decision behind closed doors, meaning neither cameras nor recording devices could be used, according to Interfax.
The bill approved by the Federation Council was submitted by President Putin, who two days earlier spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York about the need to act against the Islamic State (IS) group through internationally coordinated action and the formation of an "anti-terrorist" coalition, but without considering an end to Assad's rule.
Valentina Matviyenko, Chairman of the Federation Council, said during the discussion among MPs that Russia was "offering a concrete and realistic action plan based on the principles of international law" which will help de-escalate the conflict in Syria and put a break in the wheel of IS influence in the region and elsewhere.
On Saturday, Russia announced it had created a coordination center in Baghdad boosting the efficiency of Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Russian forces to fight IS.
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