Putin defends Russia's air strikes


President Vladimir Putin has defended Russia's military operations in Syria, saying the aim is to "stabilise the legitimate authority" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Putin told Russian state TV Moscow also wanted to "create conditions for a political compromise" in Syria.

He 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 Sunday reported both by Damascus and opposition activists.

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