President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday defended Russia’s military support for Syria, saying it was necessary to defeat the Islamic State and “terrorist aggression.”

Speaking at a meeting of a regional security bloc led by Russia, Putin rejected Western criticism that his support of President Bashar al-Assad has prolonged Syria’s bloody war, and he implied that the West’s support for Syrian rebels has led to Europe’s refugee crisis.

“We support the government of Syria in its opposition to terrorist aggression,” Putin said in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We have provided and will provide necessary military and technical support and call on other nations to join us.” […]