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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Putin fully supports 'tough' UNSC resolution on ISIS finances.

Putin fully supports 'tough' UNSC resolution on Turkish ISIS finances. (Naharnet).

President Vladimir Putin insisted Thursday that Russian forces in Syria are providing air support to some of the opposition groups fighting Islamic State, as global powers prepare for a new round of peace talks.

Addressing an annual news conference in Moscow, Putin said Russia was cooperating with the United States over Syria.

The Russian strongman reiterated claims that Moscow was in contact with the "armed, uncompromising" opposition in Syria.

"We support their efforts in fighting ISIL with Russian air strikes," he said, referring to the Islamic State group. He did not say what rebel groups he was referring to.

On Wednesday, the chief of staff of the moderate Free Syrian Army General Ahmad Berri denied receiving any Russian support, but said that Moscow had provided aid to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party's armed wing.

Moscow insists its campaign in Syria is aimed at destroying Islamic State jihadists and other terrorist groups in the war-torn country.

Later Thursday the UN Security Council was due to hold a rare meeting of finance ministers to adopt a wide-ranging draft resolution aimed at squeezing the Islamic State group's financing.

Putin said Russia supported the U.S.-backed draft resolution aimed at ramping up sanctions against the IS group and cutting off its revenue flows. "On the whole it suits us," he said.

The Kremlin strongman meanwhile accused the Turkish government of toadying to Washington, as he addressed the downing of a Russian bomber at the Syrian border by Ankara last month.

"Why did they have to do it? What did they achieve?" Putin said.

"If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place...," he said to applause from the audience. "I don't know, if they did the right thing. I don't know if the Americans need that or not."

"We find it difficult if not impossible to come to an agreement with the current leadership of Turkey," the Russian president said. "On the state level, I don't see any prospects of improving relations with the Turkish leadership." Read the full story here.

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