Syria's Assad Travels To Sochi For Talks With Putin

President Bashar al Assad of Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Syrian Bashar al-Assad held talks in Sochi yesterday, the Kremlin's Acting Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said upon completion of the meeting.

Since fighting broke out in his country in 2011, Assad has traveled only rarely but has made three publicly-acknowledged visits to Russian Federation, each time for meetings with Putin.

"I have always said, and I want to reiterate that we have always enthusiastically supported a political process that should proceed hand-in-hand with fight against terrorism", Assad for his part said.

According to the Kremlin statement, Assad said "stability is improving" in Syria, "opening the door to the political process we started some time ago". Merkel has already said that the Syrian war has grown into a conflict of "gigantic proportions", and it is impossible to be solved without backing from Russia, Europe and others - but not the US. "However, we will continue to move steadily toward the peace process and for the sake of peace", Assad stressed.

Mr Putin also congratulated Mr Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups".

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Russian Federation said it intervened militarily in Syria to defeat violent Islamist extremists who had taken control over parts of the country and were launching bomb and gun attacks in other parts of the world.

"The terrorists have laid down their arms in key locations in Syria, which has allowed for the restoration of Syrian infrastructure", Putin was cited as saying.

"Of course, after this military success additional conditions have been created to restart a full-format political process", he said.

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin travelled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there.

Assad was making his second visit to see Putin in Sochi.

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