Russia promise tough actions against threat in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II (not pictured) at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi on November 24, 2015. President Vladimir Putin on November 24 insisted that a Russian warplane shot down by a Turkish jet was flying over Syrian territory and did not pose any threat to Turkey. / AFP / POOL / MAXIM SHIPENKOV

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to take “extremely tough” action against any threat to its forces in Syria. He told defence officials in a television speech that such targets must be “immediately destroyed”. He didnt name Turkey specifically, even though the countries are currently locked in a spat over the downing of a Russian jet by Ankara.

Turkey said the bomber had entered its airspace, something Russia denies. A Russian pilot was killed in the downing of plane, as was a soldier that was sent on a rescue mission, badly damaging the close ties between Ankara and Moscow. Mr Putin warned against “further provocations” without naming Turkey directly.

Russia began air strikes in Syria in September, at the request of its ally President Bashar al­Assad. In an update on Russian operations, Mr Putin said the military was now supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces. There has been no confirmation from the FSA, who are fighting President Assad and have been bombed by Russia. The Kremlin has denied accusations by the US­led coalition operating in Syria it often targets moderate Syrian opposition, rather than Islamic State (IS) militants.