Krasnaya Polyana, October 22, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin said the purpose of the Russian operations in Syria is to fight terrorism, not mediation between the trends in Islam.
"The purpose of the Russian military operations and diplomatic efforts on this track is to fight terrorism, not mediation between representatives of various trends in Islam. Our friends who are Shiites, Sunnites and Alawi are dear to us. We don't make any distinctions," Putin said at a meeting at the Valdai Internatioanl Discussion Club.
Putin said Russia has good relations with a whole number of countries where Sunnites predominate and also with the countries where the majority of the population is Shiites.
"We don't make any distinction. Our main and only purpose is to fight terrorism," Putin said.
"At the same time, we understand the reality we are working in. In Syria, for example, over half of the 34 Cabinet members, approximately - I might be wrong - are Sunnites. In the army led by President Assad, Sunnites are represented as broadly as they are in the government,' the Russian president said.
"Naturally, if our actions make the debate between various religious trends civilized, good-neighborly and friendly and ensure that it leads to the solution of any conflicts and unification of the efforts in the fight against terrorism, we would consider our mission to be fulfilled," Putin said.