Russia "never changed its stance on Syria"

Syria's destiny should be decided by its citizens who will choose their country’s leadership, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said.

Source: Tanjug, TASS
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In a message posted on his Facebook account, Medvedev wrote:

"The destiny of the country remains in the hands of the Syrian people. It is the people, and not certain ethnic groups or political forces that are to determine how and under whose leadership they will go forward. We will keep helping the Syrian people in their maintaining sovereignty. And we believe in a peaceful future of that ancient land."

Medvedev said that his country "never changed its stance on Syria and supports only the legitimate power."

He went on to describe Syria in 2010, when he visited, as "a completely different country" to what is today, saying it was "calm and civilized" at that time.

"Historic center of Damascus where I managed to take a stroll and speak with its residents, looked as a city where people of different nationalities and confessions were coexisting peacefully," wrote Medvedev, and added:

"I talked to Syrians, who spoke very warmly of Russia and its people, took photos of ancient mosques and churches. It was a modern secular country."

But, continued Medvedev, "it all changed literally in a year’s time."

"From 2011, the life of the Syrian people has turned into a nightmare: war, terror, deaths, destruction of religious shrines and monuments of universal importance," he stated, according to TASS, and added:

"Despite the years that have passed, I want to say that during his latest visit to Moscow President Bashar al-Assad was as calm and sober minded as five years ago."

"It is obvious that Syria today is one of the key issues on the global agenda. Russia has come to assistance at the request of the Syrian leadership, and we are now fighting all together against terrorism. But the destiny of the country remains in the hands of the Syrian people," Medvedev wrote.

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