Putin warns against foreign 'aggression' in Syria, fears Soviet bloc repercussions
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that any foreign military intervention against Syria would be a form of “aggression” that would hit the entire region and breach international law.
Putin told a summit of an ex-Soviet security group that he was grateful for its decision to support Moscow's refusal to sanction strikes against President Bashar Assad's regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons, Agence France Presse reported.
“Any outside use of force would be a grave violation of international law, which in the language of the UN Charter is referred to as 'aggression',” Putin said.
He also told the members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that Islamist militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad could expand attacks to their countries according to Reuters news agency.
“The problem of terrorism spilling from one country to another is absolutely real and could directly affect the interests of any one of our countries,” he said, citing the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi as an example.
Russian officials have expressed concern that Russian-born militants fighting in Syria could return to Russia's North Caucasus and join an insurgency that claims lives almost daily, according to Reuters.
Russia is one Assad's strongest supporters in the Syrian conflict, it has been delivering arms to Assad's forces and joining China in blocking Western-backed initiatives in the UN Security Council.