Days after a leaked video showed Russian soldiers fighting rebels in Syria, Kremlin has confirmed that it has military experts on ground assisting the Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad.
A foreign ministry official from Moscow on Wednesday reiterated the Putin government's stance on Syria. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, confirmed that Russian military experts were indeed in Syria, but they are there to assist in "arms delivery".
A Reuters report said that the statement was the first official confirmation of Russian military presence in Syria.
Zakharova, however, claimed Russia never hid "the fact" that it was providing military and technical help to Syria, Russian News Agency - TASS reported. "We have never made a secret of military-technical cooperation with Syria," she said. "We've long been supplying weapons and military equipment to Syria. We do this under the existing contracts and in full conformity with international law."
The official also said that she "can confirm and reiterate that there are Russian military specialists in Syria who help to use arriving equipment."
Russia is thinking of providing more assistance to Syria to fight "terrorism" in the country, Zakharova elaborated. "I can reiterate that if additional measures in the interests of boosting anti-terrorism efforts are required, then, undoubtedly, these issues will be additionally considered, but exclusively on the basis of international law of Russian legislature," she added.
Last week, a leaked video broadcasted on Syrian television showed Russian troops battling armed rebels alongside Syrian soldiers. [Also Read: Leaked Video Shows Russian Troops Fighting Rebels in Syria]
The footage, aired by the State-run Damascus television station, also showed Kremlin soldiers conversing in Russian during the battle in the Latakia Mountains.