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Russia: Military Planes Carrying Refugee Supplies to Syria


A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency on Sept. 12, 2015, shows members of the Syrian Red Crescent unloading a Russian plane carrying humanitarian aid on the tarmac of the Martyr Bassil al-Assad international airport in Latakia.

Two Russian military cargo planes carrying 80 tons of humanitarian aid have arrived in Syria to set up a tent camp for more than 1,000 refugees, as the main Syrian opposition group blasted Moscow over its military presence in the predominantly Arab country.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Saturday that the humanitarian aid included materials for setting up camp.

The Syrian National Coalition, a network of groups battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has condemned the Russian aid, describing it as hostile behavior and a direct "military intervention."

The Pentagon said Friday that recent Russian aid included 200 naval personnel and modular housing for up to 1,500 troops.

A defense official told VOA the materiel also included artillery, a short-range guided-missile controller and about a dozen armored vehicles.

U.S. President Barack Obama has voiced concern about Russia's military activity in Syria, warning that it could prevent the United States and its allies from finding a political solution to the Syrian civil war.

The president said Friday that Washington would confront Moscow about its Syrian military activities. "This is going to be a long discussion," he said.

Russia, a traditional Syrian ally, has supported the Assad government throughout the civil war with aid, while shielding the Syrian government from U.N. sanctions.