Prior to a meeting with Obama this week Russian President Vladimir Putin told Charlie Rose of CBS’ 60 Minutes the U.S. effort to fund, train and support jihadist rebels in Syria violates international law.

“In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” Putin said.

“In reality, Assad’s army is fighting against terrorist organizations,” he added.

Virtually all of the rebels in Syria have sworn allegiance to ISIS and other jihadist groups and there is not “a secular fighting force to speak of,” The New York Times reported in 2013.

Putin said the Russian response in Syria is legal and appropriate under international law.

“We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to the legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council,” Putin said.

The Russian president called for an international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria.

“We have proposed cooperation to the countries in the region, we are trying to establish some kind of coordination framework,” Putin said.

“We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists,” he said.

Establishment Media: Russian Effort Amounts to Bread and Circuses

On Saturday The New York Times dismissed Putin’s effort as political theater designed to “shore up his ability to single-handedly dominate Russia, as he has for much of the past 15 years.”

The Russian effort to help the government of al-Assad fight against U.S. and Gulf Emirate funded and trained terrorism is merely a “bread and circus” stunt intended to distract Russians from the conflict in Ukraine, according to Maxim Trudolyubov, the editor at large of the newspaper Vedomosti, a Russian language business daily.

The newspaper is a joint venture between Dow Jones and the Financial Times.

Earlier this month an op-ed published by The New York Times called for a no-fly zone in Syria to prevent the Syrian military from responding to ISIS and other jihadi groups.

“The least bad option today is to create a no-fly zone in the south of Syria. This could be done on a shoestring, enforced by U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean firing missiles, without ground troops,” writes Nicholas Kristof.

“That would end barrel bombings. Just as important, the no-fly zone would create leverage to pressure the Syrian regime — and its Russian and Iranian backers — to negotiate.”

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