Russian parliament grants Putin right to use military force in Syria

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Can U.S. And Russia Agree on Syria?


The Russian parliament on Wednesday unanimously granted President Vladimir Putin the right to deploy the country's military in Syria, a move a top Kremlin aide said related only to the air force.

Russia has been building up its military presence in Syria, where it supports the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad in a conflict that pits him against Islamic State militants and Western-backed rebels.

Sergei Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, said after the vote in the Federation Council, the Russian parliament's upper chamber: "The Syrian president asked the leadership of our country for military assistance."

But he said the vote did not mean that Russian ground forces would be engaged in conflict and that the move referred to the use of the air force only.

"If there will be a united coalition which I doubt, or in the end two coalitions -- one American and one Russian -- they will have to coordinate their actions," Ivan Konovalov, a military expert, told Reuters.

"For Russian forces to operate there legitimately ... a law was needed."

There have some media reports from the Middle East that Russian military jets have already started carrying out air strikes in Syria. The Kremlin has declined to confirm that.

The last time the Russian parliament granted Putin the right to deploy troops abroad, a technical requirement under Russian law, Moscow seized Crimea from Ukraine last year.

See photos of Putin and other world leaders at Tuesday's U.N. General Assembly:

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Russian parliament grants Putin right to use military force in Syria
US President Barack Obama poses for the Peacekeeping Summit family photo at the United Nations headquarters on September 28, 2015 in New York, New York. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
United States President Barack Obama addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
United States President Barack Obama speaks during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari, left, talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: President of Russia Vladimir Putin sits after addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015 in New York City. World leaders gathered for the 70th session of the annual meeting. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
United States President Barack Obama addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Cuba's President Raul Castro arrives for the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
United Nations Secretary Genaral Ban Ki-moon addresses the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly September 28, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft (R) of Denmark taps the gavel to open the session as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon looks on at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives to speak at the opening session of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters on September 28, 2015 in New York.AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Russian President President Vladimir Putin addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listen as Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
United States President Barack Obama, bottom, greets United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after addressing the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
United States Secretary of State John Kerry listens as President Barack Obama addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Francois Hollande, president of France, speaks during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
NEW YORK, USA. SEPTEMBER 28,: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama shake hands at a meeting after the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2015. (Photo by Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2015-- Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the annual high-level general debate of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept. 28, 2015. (Xinhua/Wang Ye via Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry exits after a meeting at the security council during the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 28: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at UN Headquatters September 28, 2015 in New York City. The ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis it has spawned are playing a backdrop to this years 70th annual General Assembly meeting of global leaders. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
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