Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his country’s military operations in Syria, saying the aim is to “stabilize the legitimate authority” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Vladimir Putin told Russian state TV Rossiya-1 Moscow also wanted to “create conditions for a political compromise” in Syria.
The Kremlin leader denied that Russian air strikes were hitting moderate opposition groups rather than Islamic State militants.
Syrian forces are said to have made significant advances against rebels.
Government gains in Idlib, Hama and Latakia provinces were on October 11 reported both by Damascus and opposition activists.
The main battlefront is currently close to the key highway that links the capital with other major cities, including Aleppo, and Bashar al-Assad’s forces are believed to be seeking to cut off rebels in Idlib.
In the interview with Rossiya-1 broadcast on October 11, Vladimir Putin said Russia’s aim was to “stabilize” the government in Damascus.
He stressed that without Moscow’s support for Bashar al-Assad there was a danger that “terrorist groups” could overrun Syria.
Bashar al-Assad’s government was currently “under siege”, Vladimir Putin said, adding that militants were “at the edge of Damascus”.
The Russian president also urged other nations to “unite efforts against this evil [terrorism]”.
The US-led coalition – which has been carrying out its own air strikes in Syria – earlier said it would not be co-operating with Russia.
Russia, which began its strikes in Syria on September 30, said on October 11 its aircraft carried out more than 60 missions in the past 24 hours, and that ISIS was its main target.