Russian President Vladimir Putin says no change in the country's support for Syrian leadership, calls for united efforts in fighting Islamic State. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
In meetings with Syria's foreign minister in Moscow -- Russian President Vladimir Putin offers his continued to support to Damascus as it continues to grapple with widespread conflict after more than four years of war. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Our policy is aimed at support of Syria and the Syrian people, and it remains unchanged." Insurgent groups have made gains against government forces in northwest, central and southern Syria in the past two months, but Damascus has voiced confidence that it can hold on to important territory with the help of its allies. Putin says the region has found a common enemy in Islamic State. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "All our contacts with countries in the region, and we have very kind relations with all countries with no exception, tell us that everyone is ready to contribute to the fight against Islamic State, which is so evil." Russia is a staunch ally of Syria and a big exporter of arms to Syria -- and it is refusing to bow to the pressure from West to abandon those sales.