Assad meets with Putin in Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the top military brass

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have hailed achievements in what they called the fight against terrorists in Syria.

"After the military success (of the Syrian army in recent months) supplementary conditions have been created which favour the start of a political process on a major scale", Mr Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin following the meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

The situation in Syria is now favorable for the political process, Russia's president said late Thursday. "I have always said, and now I repeat once again, that we always enthusiastically support the political process, which should go hand in hand with the fight against terrorism", Assad said.

Putin held talks with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, ahead of his meetings with European leaders.

A posting on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page said Assad and Putin also discussed economic cooperation and growing investments by Russian companies in Syria. His first trip was reportedly to Moscow in October 2015, a month after Russian Federation staged a military intervention in Syria at his request.

Mr Putin said the Russian air force would receive 160 new aircraft this year
Mr Putin said the Russian air force would receive 160 new aircraft this year

Moscow has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war since 2015, ensuring the survival of a Middle Eastern ally and guaranteeing continued access to the strategically vital Mediterranean Sea. "Now, we can make next moves jointly with you".

Putin told Assad that "a lot has been done" at Russia-sponsored talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kazakhstan.

Assad said he is committed to political reform, without elaborating.

More than 450,000 people have been killed and 11 million have been displaced from their homes.



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