Russia votes to put ground troops in Syria

 
Catherine Neilan
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The vote paves the way for rapid intervention in Syria (Source: Getty)

Russia's upper house has approved President Vladimir Putin's request to deploy ground troops to Syria.

Lawmakers have given unanimous approval for the country's armed forces to enter the war-torn country, paving the way for a rapid intervention, Russia media is reporting.

The Russian constitution requires the president to seek permission from the upper house before sending troops on overseas combat missions. The last time it was sought - and granted - was to send ground troops into Ukraine last year.

Putin has been vocal in his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was a "huge mistake" for the world not to join the country in its fight against Islamic State (Isis).

In the UK, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has indicated that Labour MPs would be allowed a free vote on whether the UK should extend its involvement in airstrikes against Isis targets in Syria.

It was one of many "big ticket" issues in which party politicians would be allowed to follow their own view, rather than the party whip, he said in an interview at the party conference yesterday.

More to follow..

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