Russia has sent 2,000 mercenaries to Syria, hoping to raise the number of fighters to 20,000, said Syrian National Coalition President Khaled Khoja.
In an interview with CNN Turk TV channel yesterday, President Khoja said that Russia aims to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to grant him a stronger position in any possible peace negotiations. He also said that a political solution is impossible as long as Russia is invading Syria, stressing that the Syrian Coalition will not sit with the Russians at the negotiating table.
Khoja stressed that the game Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing in Syria will eventually backfire, warning Moscow it will meet the same fate as the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
The Coalition head pointed out that Russian aerial attacks had targeted Syrian rebels, adding that most of the victims who died as a result were civilians.
Russia, Khoja said, must realize that it cannot win a war through a barbaric aerial bombardment campaign, stressing that President Assad and his key ally Russia will eventually lose the battle against rebel fighters.
Khoja also noted the Free Syrian Army numbers over 70,000 fighters and was formed by defecting officers from the Assad regime, stressing that the situation in Syria is not a civil war but an aggression launched by the Assad regime on the Syrian people.
He stressed that Bashar al-Assad is solely responsible for the continued aggression, adding that the solution to the crisis is contingent on removing him from power. The Syrian Coalition has always sought a political solution, Khoja said, adding that Syria is coming under a Russian-Iranian invasion that requires Syrian rebel support to counter it.