Assad says Russian air campaign vital to save Middle East

Frame grab taken from footage shows smoke rising after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force near Jisr al-ShughourBy Dominic Evans and Suleiman Al-Khalidi BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said the success of a military campaign by Russia, Syria and its allies was vital to save the Middle East from destruction, a day after Moscow said it would step up air strikes against Islamic State targets across Syria. A year-long air campaign by Western and Arab air forces in Syria and Iraq had been counterproductive, Assad said, helping terrorism spread and win new recruits, but a coalition of Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq could achieve real results.

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