Russia ready to provide air support to moderate Syria rebels fighting ISIS: Lavrov

MOSCOW (AFP, REUTERS) - Russia's air force in Syria is ready to provide cover for the Free Syrian Army, the Western-backed opposition group battling Bashar al-Assad, in its fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday (Oct 24).

"We are ready to also support patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army, from the air," Lavrov told in an interview with Rossiya 1 television channel.

He also said there needed to be parliamentary and presidential elections in Syria as part of any political settlement of the crisis and that he thought there was hope that progress could be made on a deal in the foreseeable future.

Moscow has thrust itself into the heart of the conflict with its bombing campaign in support of Assad, while the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia back rebel groups fighting Damascus.