Putin: Russia will continue helping al-Assad

Moscow will continue to provide military assistance to the Syrian government in its war with insurgents.

FILE: Syria’s civil war left millions homeless, cities and historical treasures in ruins, the economy devastated and no end in sight to the conflict. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW - Moscow says it will continue aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, as the US cautions military buildup won't aid in a political solution.

Moscow will continue to provide military assistance to the Syrian government in its war with insurgents.

That was the message Tuesday from Russian President Vladimir Putin while in Tajikistan.

"We have supported the Syrian government. I would like to say that, as it confronts a terrorist aggression, we have provided and will provide all the necessary military and technical support. And we call on other countries to join us."

Moscow's been the key international ally of al-Assad in the protracted Syrian conflict saying it has "military experts" on the ground.

But the US believes Moscow wants to establish a forward operating air base in Syria, prompting a warning earlier this week from State Department spokesman John Kirby, that Russian military assistance won't help bring about a political solution to end the fighting.

"We still believe there is an opportunity to pursue that kind of transition in concert with Russian authorities. What would make it incredibly difficult to get there is continued support to the Assad regime from a military perspective"

Moscow has come under increased international pressure in recent days to explain its moves in Syria, but all it has said so far is that continuing dialogue between Moscow and Washington is, quote, "indispensable".